What kind of a life do our Veterans lead once they’ve come home? Unfortunately, life isn’t easy for our troops. After they are forced to tolerate long-term pain on the battle field, they experience complications and physical discomfort, which can diminish their quality of life once they have come home. Surprisingly, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, as many as half of all returning veterans experience chronic pain lasting as long as six months.
Civilians have a lot of control when it comes to managing back pain. They can change the way they sit, change their posture — but back pain for the Veteran is a different story. Though there are certainly troops who have desk jobs, those whose assignments involve carrying lots of equipment or wearing heavy protective gear for long periods of time are prone to wear-and-tear injuries. Veterans may also experience back pain as a result of injury, which can complicate the treatment process.
Life is difficult enough for members of the military because they are more likely to experience chronic back pain due to battle. For anyone experiencing chronic pain, there is the risk of developing feelings of frustration, despair, and depression. This risk can be even greater for veterans, even those returning from non-combat missions. Back pain and back injuries can limit your ability to work. For those who have made serving their country their career, back pain can seriously inhibit successfully performing their duties.
Obtaining immediate medical attention for our troops who suffer chronic back pain doesn’t come easy. Beginning in 1998, the Veterans’ Administration has used a protocol for handling veterans’ pain issues known as the National Pain Management Strategy. However, the lengthy wait times and inefficiencies of the VA system have been well documented. Returning troops are faced with bureaucratic hurdles and frustrating lags, especially for seeing specialists. Though efforts are being made to overhaul the VA, chronic pain can make each day feel like an eternity.
If you would like to restore your quality of life by eliminating chronic back pain, don’t wait for a referral from the VA. Solomon Kamson, MD at the Spine Institute Northwest offers a comprehensive array of treatment options, and we make every effort to make sure you don’t need to wait to come see us.