Veterans have risked their lives to protect us and our country. Unfortunately, they are also some of the most at risk groups for chronic pain. Around two-thirds of all veterans are in constant pain, and nearly 10% of them experience severe pain. This number is greater than those who didn’t serve in the armed forces.
While there are several treatment options out there, not all veterans know how to deal with the pain they experience.
Reasons Veterans Experience So Much Pain
Nearly two million vets aren’t covered by health insurance. If you earn too much money in a year, you aren’t guaranteed coverage. This means that vets who make an income somewhere between coverage maximums and being able to afford insurance can’t get the care they need. Cost is a huge factor in being able to pursue treatment for their pain.
Service related injuries are also one of the most common reasons behind chronic pain. Musculoskeletal pain due to injuries is the most common type of chronic pain. However, because they don’t have the income necessary, they often can’t see a doctor or pursue other types of treatment.
Those who do go in to see a doctor may not see someone who knows how to treat them. Many care givers just don’t have the training necessary to provide treatment for veterans. Knowledge of military service and the types of activities that lead to pain is necessary to provide care that works.
Poor mental health makes it difficult for these former service members to create the lifestyle necessary to manage these pain levels. Many of them suffer from PTSD and don’t have the treatment necessary to overcome associated challenges.
How This Chronic Pain Impacts Their Lives
Depending on the severity of the injury, some veterans are unable to work because of their pain. Not working can be detrimental, as it leaves them without a sense of purpose in the world. Without a way to support themselves, many veterans become homeless.
These factors can also contribute to an already underlying emotional instability. There’s plenty of evidence that poverty and poor mental health can lead to mental crisis. It’s not fair for these veterans to come home and get abandoned to fend for themselves after they’ve given up so much to protect this country.
If you are a veteran suffering from chronic pain, or know someone who is, there are some things you can do to manage your symptoms that don’t require you to see a doctor. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to create a healthy lifestyle. Keeping active and eating nutritionally supportive food is a great way to reduce inflammation and pump your brain full of the neurotransmitters that help you manage your pain.
You’ll also want to avoid caffeine and alcohol as much as possible. These two substances are dangerous to rely on too much as you can quickly build up a tolerance to them. This reduces the pain management effects, making you need more to get the same result.
Our veterans have put their lives on the line to serve and protect us. It’s time that we give back and help them through their chronic pain crisis.