Pain Management

Research Finds Unexpectedly High Rates of Pain, Opioid Use in Recently Deployed Soldiers

Research Finds Unexpectedly High Rates of Pain, Opioid Use in Recently Deployed Soldiers

By Annette M. Boyle SILVER SPRING, MD – Skyrocketing prescription opioid use in the civilian population has attracted widespread medical and media attention. While the DoD and VA implemented a pain management task force in 2010, relatively little research has… Read More

FDA Adds Warning to Corticosteroid Injection Labels

WASHINGTON – Corticosteroid injections given to treat neck and back pain, as well as radiating pain in the arms and legs, can have rare but serious adverse effects, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Noting that those side… Read More

Greater Alternative Therapy Use Gradually Decreases Opioid Dependence in Military

Greater Alternative Therapy Use Gradually Decreases Opioid Dependence in Military

WASHINGTON – The use of opioids has slightly decreased in the military, an Army official told lawmakers last month.

Chronic Pain Med Use Increases Depression Incidence

ST. LOUIS – Chronic use of pain-relieving medication can increase in the risk of developing major depression, according to a new veterans study. The study, led by researchers from Saint Louis University and published recently in the Journal of General… Read More

Mindfulness Intervention Shown to Lower Opioid Misuse

SALT LAKE CITY – Active-duty servicemembers with chronic pain will be among the next groups tested with a new mindfulness-focused treatment to lower opioid misuse. The new intervention, called Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE) is designed to train patients to respond… Read More

Risk, Not Pain Relief, Increased by Pre-Nerve Block Sedation

BALTIMORE – When patients are sedated before a nerve block to diagnose or treat chronic pain, costs and the risks of unnecessary surgery increase without improving patient satisfaction or pain control in the long term. That’s according to a report… Read More

Auricular Acupuncture: Convenient Technique for Battlefield Pain

Auricular Acupuncture: Convenient Technique for Battlefield Pain

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, MD – For many servicemembers, pain is an accepted consequence of military service.

New VA Initiative Seeks to Reduce Opioid Use

New VA Initiative Seeks to Reduce Opioid Use

MINNEAPOLIS — A new initiative to reduce the use of opioids at the VA already is demonstrating some success at eight launch sites in Minnesota, where high-dose use of the painkillers has been reduced more than 50%.

Internet Tool Uses Patient Feedback to Improve Army Pain Management

Internet Tool Uses Patient Feedback to Improve Army Pain Management

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — A new Internet tool is a powerful weapon to combat pain, and the DoD is now launching it in a pilot location. The Pain Assessment Screening Tool and Outcomes Registry (PASTOR) recently was rolled out… Read More

How Prescribers Discuss Opioid Use/Abuse with Patients

INDIANAPOLIS — From press reports, it might seem that everyone is talking about opioid analgesics. The question that VA researchers set out to answer, however, is how prescribers were discussing use of the pain relievers with their patients. A pilot… Read More

Opioid Use Raises Depression Risk in Veterans

ST. LOUIS, MO — The chronic use of opioid analgesics is linked to an increase in the risk of developing major depression, according to a review of veterans’ medical records. The study, led by Saint Louis University researchers, was published… Read More

DNA Used to Predict Amputee’s Pain Levels

SAN FRANCISCO — Researchers now are able to predict which wounded servicemembers are likely to develop persistent, chronic pain after amputation based on variants in their individual DNA sequence. The report on the medical advancement, led by researchers from Duke… Read More

Legislators Call on VA to Stop Over-Prescription of Powerful Painkillers

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — In the wake of accusations that veterans are over-prescribed powerful painkillers, a House of Representatives subcommittee chairman called on VA to adopt more effective pain management protocols.  “The stakes are too high for VA to… Read More

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