Federal Agencies Partner to Award Grants for Military and Veteran Pain Management Research

Federal Agencies Partner to Award Grants for Military and Veteran Pain Management Research
Information Resources

By Evelyn Cunico, MA, MS/LIS
Posted October 01, 2017

Joint Initiative Will Award Multiple Grants Totaling $81 Million

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have partnered in a multi-component research project, focusing on nondrug approaches for pain management among military service members and veterans, according to a National Institutes of Health (NIH) September 20, 2017 news release.

Twelve research projects, totaling approximately 81 million dollars over six years, depending on available funds, will focus on developing and implementing research on nondrug approaches for pain management in settings that provide care for military personnel and veterans.

NIH will be the lead HHS agency in this partnership. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), which is part of NIH, is contributing more than half of the total funding. NCCIH is the lead for this multi-agency initiative, called the NIH-DoD-VA Pain Management Collaboratory.

National Health Interview Survey Results

Data from the 2010 to 2014 National Health Interview Survey, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics, show that Chronic Pain is the most common medical condition requiring treatment for military personnel.

Almost two-thirds of U.S. military veterans say they are in pain, and more than nine percent say their pain is severe.

Although opioids are often prescribed to treat Chronic Pain, long-term use of opioids may lead to addiction and other problematic issues. So, there is a need for nondrug approaches for pain management.

What the Research Means for Military Service Members and Veterans

Pain management research in the multi-agency initiative will be real-world, which means that the research will be conducted in settings that provide care for military personnel and veterans, such as military and veteran healthcare delivery organizations.

The research projects will provide important information about the acceptability, safety, and effectiveness of nondrug approaches in treating pain for military personnel and veterans.

Types of Nondrug Approaches

The following complementary and integrative approaches, among others, will be researched for their effectiveness and safety in the management of chronic pain for military service members and veterans.

  • Mindfulness Meditation
  • Movement and structured exercise, such as, Tai Chi and Yoga
  • Manual therapies, such as, Spinal Manipulation, Massage, and Acupuncture
  • Psychological and behavioral approaches, such as, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Integrative treatments that involve more than one of these approaches

Although there is little published information about the effectiveness of these approaches for Chronic Pain in military populations, there is published information on complementary health approaches for PTSD, stress or anxiety, and insomnia in military personnel and veterans, as well as information on Chronic Pain in nonmilitary populations.

Talk with Your Doctor

Talk with your medical doctor or other healthcare provider about any complementary health approaches that you use.

Also consider talking with your doctor about complementary health approaches that you might integrate into your regular healthcare treatment plan.

See the NCCIH web pages titled, Eight Things to Know about Mind and Body Approaches for Health Problems Facing Military Personnel and Veterans, in the Selected Information Resources at the end of this CHIME blog post.

Disclaimer: The information presented in this blog should not replace the medical advice of your doctor. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any disease, illness, or other health condition, without first consulting with your medical doctor or other healthcare provider.

Selected Information Resources

Nahin, R.L. Severe Pain in Veterans: The Effect of Age and Sex, and Comparisons with the General Population. The Journal of Pain: Official Journal of the American Pain Society. 2017 Mar;18(3):247-254. Epub 2016 Nov 21.
Summary Note: Study provides national estimates of U.S. military veterans with severe pain, and compares veterans with nonveterans of similar age and sex. Also see the NCCIH entry titled, Veterans Are in Pain, According to Analysis of National Health Survey, in this list of Selected Information Resources.
(Abstract accessed 30 September 2017. Full Text available on subscription from Elsevier, linked from PubMed Abstract. Free Full Text available from PubMed Central on 2018-03-01)

National Institutes of Health. Federal Agencies Partner for Military and Veteran Pain Management Research. News Release. September 20, 2017.
Summary Note: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Department of Defense (DoD), and Veterans Affairs (VA) join together to fund 12 projects, totaling 81 million dollars over six years, for military and veteran pain management research.
(Accessed 21 September 2017)

National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Complementary Health Practices for U.S. Military, Veterans, and Families
Summary Note: Information resources explore nondrug approaches for managing pain and other conditions. Information is organized for two reading audiences, Consumers and Health Professionals.
(Accessed 21 September 2017)

National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Veterans Are in Pain, According to Analysis of National Health Survey
Summary Note: NCCIH summary of the R.L. Nahin study, showing that almost two-thirds of U.S. military veterans say they are in pain, and more than nine percent say their pain is severe. Also see the R.L. Nahin entry in this list of Selected Information Resources.
(Accessed 24 September 2017)

National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Eight Things to Know about Mind and Body Approaches for Health Problems Facing Military Personnel and Veterans
Summary Note: An eight-point summary of nondrug approaches.
(Accessed 24 September 2017)


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