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NIH and VA address pain and related conditions in U.S. military personnel

November 24, 2014

Over the next 5 years, the National Institute of Health and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Services Research and Development Division will fund thirteen research projects to address pain and related conditions in U.S. which affect military personnel, veterans, and their families, with a focus on nondrug approaches.

iStock_000017696461XSmallA 2011 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report states that nearly 100 million American adults suffer from chronic pain at a cost of $635 billion per year and notes a need for a cultural transformation to change this problem. Chronic pain disproportionately affects those who have served or are serving in the military. Furthermore, the issue extends beyond pain to its management by pharmaceutical drugs. Drugs such as opioids that are available to manage chronic pain are not consistently effective, have disabling side effects, may exacerbate pain conditions in some patients, and are often misused.

Over the next 5 years, thirteen research projects totaling approximately $21.7 will explore nondrug approaches to managing pain and related health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), drug abuse, and sleep issues. The effort seeks to enhance options for the management of pain and associated problems in U.S. military personnel, veterans, and their families.

The National Institutes of Health's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Services Research and Development Division provided funding for this initiative. The research projects are located at academic institutions and VA medical centers across the United States.

According to Nora D. Volkow, M.D., Director of NIDA, “this body of research will add to the growing arsenal of pain management options to give relief while minimizing the potential for abuse, especially for those bravely serving our nation in the armed forces.”


Related materials include:


To read more about the NIH pain project, click here.

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