Returning Veterans Suffering Chronic Pain

Veterans returning from combat suffering from chronic and, on occasion, debilitating pain, is a topic many in the military do not want to discuss. Much less is written about these veterans than veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). That the topic is not widely covered does not make it any less of a reality.

According to a new study presented to the American Pain Foundation, 9 in 10 veterans who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan and registered for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for care experience pain. Over 50% of these veterans suffer from what is classified as significant pain. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the most severe pain, significant pain would register at a 4. Some of the sources of pain listed in the study include:

  • Combat injuries;
  • Burns;
  • Multiple exposure to powerful blasts; and
  • Post-amputation.

Continued exposure to powerful blasts may not leave any physical marks in their wake, but what they may  leave, however, is a damaged nervous system. That damaged system can lead to other issues, such as headaches and difficulty processing information. The presence of PTSD and TBI will often make conditions causing pain much worse. In turn, treatment for the pain becomes more complicated.

Suffering from physical pain compounds itself into other issues as well. The emotional stress incurred from handling constant pain often manifests itself in crippling and hyper-stressed cognitive issues. The emotional impact on a person can be severe and when that happens, treatment becomes much more intricate; raising multiple issues requiring attention at the same time.

40% of soldiers injured during Vietnam survived their injuries; today that number is closer to 90%. There are more soldiers surviving their injuries and those injuries are much more complex. Because they are more complex, they demand more involved pain management and rehabilitation.

Treating pain aggressively gives patients the best chance for recovery. Treatments can include exposure to addictive pain medication but used correctly, they play a critical role in the overall pain management.

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, contact Veterans Help Group. You may be entitled to certain programs and benefits so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.