Acupuncture Helps Reduce Use Of Painkillers By Army Patients
Pain relief medications were prescribed to 26% of all military service members in 2011. That number was reduced to 24% in 2014, and is said to be attributable to the use of acupuncture, yoga, and other types of complementary and alternative medicine. The use of acupuncture and other more natural alternatives to medication is helping to reduce pain in Army patients, thus reducing opioid prescriptions.
Small Change Represents Big Shift
Last week at a hearing of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, the deputy commanding general of the US Army Medical Command and assistant surgeon general for force projection, Brig. Gen. Norvell V. Coots testified this month about concerns of overmedication in the military. Coots told the committee that while the 2% reduction is a small difference, he felt that the change represents a cultural change and a move forward for Army Medicine which has been working toward culture change since 2010.
Military Is Not Immune To Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic
The Centers for Disease Control has stated that the US is currently experiencing an abuse of prescription pain medications of epidemic proportions. Coots has said that the military isn’t immune to the threat and problem of prescription opioid abuse. As another means of stopping prescription medication abuse, the Army is planning to add clinical pharmacists to its patient care teams. These pharmacists will be able to identify those soldiers who are at risk of using dangerous combinations of multiple medications.
Military Pushing For Alternative Medicine
In the last few years, the Army has seen a big upswing in the form of alternative medicine, said Coots, and the use of alternative medicine has been written into the Army’s Comprehensive Pain Management Campaign. Coots told the committee that a reduction in prescription opioid usage in the military is being seen, particularly in the Army, and that the statistics show that the push for culture change and integration of alternative modalities are responsible. The under secretary for Health, Department of Veterans Affairs, Robert Petzel testified at the hearing that the VA now includes chiropractic care, mindfulness meditation, exercise therapy and massages in its pain treatment plan.
Innovative Strategies May Provide Solutions
Coots told the senators that he feels attaining effective solutions to the prescription medication abuse problem in the military will need to involve innovative strategies. The military’s acceptance of acupuncture and other alternative treatments is a step in a direction that will hopefully treat many service people naturally, or at least with the use of fewer medications. Our integrative approach at Marino Acupuncture Clinic allows our patients to benefit from oriental medicine alongside mainstream western medical practices, if needed. We treat the whole patient based on individual needs, and our patients experience noninvasive, dramatic recoveries to pain as well as to many diseases and ailments. We are proud to bring science-based acupuncture treatment to the Detroit metro area.