Pain Management

Sodium Channels Offer Path to Personalized Pain Management

By Annette M. Boyle Steven Waxman, MD NEW HAVEN, CT — Researchers at the West Haven VAMC and Yale University are moving closer to a new class of pain medications devoid of side effects and may have uncovered a critical… Read More

Careful Patient Management Essential for Mitigating Opioid Side Effects

By Annette M. Boyle Rollin M. “Mac” Gallagher, MD, MPH PHILADELPHIA – More than 50% of all VHA patients and more than 90% of those with polytrauma report experiencing chronic pain and, for many, only opioids provide significant relief. Unfortunately,… Read More

Study Finds Pain-Related Brain Anomalies in ‘Gulf War Illness’

WASHINGTON — Veterans suffering from “Gulf War Illness” appear to have anomalies in the bundles of nerve fibers that connect brain areas involved in the processing and perception of pain and fatigue — changes not seen in unaffected individuals. Researchers… Read More

Ofirmev Injection Available on VA Formulary For Relief of Mild/Moderate Pain

SAN DIEGO – Cadence Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced that Ofirmev (acetaminophen) injection has been made available on the VA National Formulary (VANF) and must be available for prescription at all VA facilities. .Ofirmev is the first non-narcotic, non-NSAID, intravenous analgesic available… Read More

Military Pain Management’s Future: Less Invasive, More Data-Driven Techniques

By Col. Chester “Trip” Buckenmaier III, MD, program director, Defense and Veterans Center for Integrative Pain Management Col. Chester “Trip” Buckenmaier III, MD In August 2009, the Pain Management Task Force (PMTF) was chartered by retired Lt. Gen. Eric B.… Read More

No Longer Just a Horse Drug, Ketamine Increasingly Used for Military Pain Management

Annette M. Boyle ROCKVILLE, MD — Morphine has met its match — and then some. After 200 years as the gold standard in battlefield analgesia, morphine is increasingly giving way to ketamine, a phencyclidine (PCP) derivative initially used in veterinary… Read More

Ketamine Resets System for Normal Pain Processing in Complex Syndrome Patients

By Annette M. Boyle BETHESDA, MD — For patients with intractable complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), treatment with high doses of ketamine may offer a cure or dramatically reduce pain and improve functioning. Better still, this innovative treatment soon might… Read More

Military Medicine Comes Up with Novel Treatments for Phantom Limb: Pain Persists After Amputation

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — In October 2010, Marine Lance Cpl. Sebastian Gallegos stepped into a canal in Afghanistan just as a comrade stumbled onto an improvised explosive device (IED). The impact blew Gallegos forward and almost severed his arm.… Read More

Expert Advice to Help VA Primary Care Providers Reduce Opioid Prescribing Risks

By Annette M. Boyle MINNEAPOLIS — For primary care providers in the VA healthcare system, the use of opioid therapy to alleviate chronic pain requires an ongoing balance of risks and benefits for each patient, a challenge made more difficult… Read More

VA Ahead of Schedule in Improving Chronic Pain Care

By Annette M. Boyle PHILADELPHIA — While VHA must face the challenge of meeting the needs both of aging veterans and recently deployed servicemembers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, the two groups have at least one problem in common: a… Read More

More Opioid Prescriptions Adverse Effects for Vets With PTSD

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON — Veterans with PTSD are more likely than others to be prescribed opioids for post-injury pain, and that can lead to an increase in adverse mental and physical effects, according to a recent VA study.  “Iraq… Read More

Claims Deadline Extended for Undiagnosed Gulf War Veterans

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON — Continuing a pattern of easing the way for Gulf War veterans to seek care and compensation, VA has extended the presumptive period for them to file claims for benefits for previously undiagnosed illnesses. The change… Read More

Army Seeks to Take Back Prescription Drugs to Avoid Medication Abuse Errors

WASHINGTON — The Army is seeking permanent authority to accept unused or old prescription drugs from military healthcare beneficiaries who wish to get rid of them. In January, Gen. Peter Chiarelli, Army vice chief of staff, asked that the Drug… Read More

Army Looks to Telehealth Project to Improve Wounded Warrior Pain Management

WASHINGTON — Army officials are taking steps to replicate an innovative telehealth project to enhance the Army’s pain-medicine care and treatment. Telehealth initiatives generally have been used to allow a doctor at one location to connect with a patient at… Read More

Telemedicine Program Gives Patients Benefit of Team Approach to Their Care

WEST HAVEN, CONN. — Over the last few years, telemedicine has partially redefined how health care is delivered to patients, especially those who do not live near medical centers. For the most part, it has been a one-to-one exchange. One… Read More

Walking a Tightrope: Military Tries to Balance Appropriate Pain Treatment with Growing Misuse of Prescription Drugs

Washington, DC – The military services, especially the Army, are walking a tightrope on how to appropriately treat wounded warriors’ pain without feeding into the growing problem of misuse of pain relievers and other prescription drugs among troops. Several recent… Read More

Army Leaders Honored for Efforts to Improve Pain Management

WASHINGTON—The Army’s efforts to improve acute and chronic pain management in injured troops have been recently honored by the American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM). AAPM presented four leaders from Army medicine with the Academy’s Presidential Commendation for their contributions… Read More

New Toolkit Advises Providers on Care of mTBI Patients With Additional Conditions Such as PTSD, Pain

Use short, simple sentences. Summarize key points throughout the appointment. These are among the tips that a recently released toolkit recommends to providers treating military personnel with mTBI who are also suffering from co-occurring health conditions. The care… Read More

Gout Specialists Seek to Improve Care for Veterans With Painful Condition

An estimated three million Americans are afflicted with gout, the result of a higher-than-normal level of uric acid in the body. The acid builds up in the joints, forming crystals, which cause the joint to swell and become inflamed. The… Read More

Military Pain Management: A Cultural Change for the 21st Century

The management of combat trauma pain with morphine and other opioid medications and the introduction of battlefield anesthesia was a tremendous medical breakthrough for wounded warriors and military medicine. The first American use of battlefield anesthesia is thought to have… Read More