In honor of Veterans Day, the U.S. Pain Foundation is pleased to announce a new virtual support group for veterans and active members of the military dealing with chronic pain. The support group is part of Pain Connection, the organization’s national network of support groups.
“Veterans are 40 percent more likely to experience chronic pain than civilians,” says Gwenn Herman, LCSW, DCSW, Pain Connection’s Clinical Director. “In addition, they face high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder. Veterans and active military members need and deserve specialized support that recognizes the unique challenges they face.”
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) recently released new opioid prescribing guidelines for chronic pain that are more stringent than those released last year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Most of the recommendations are widely supported practices for reducing opioid misuse and abuse, such as reducing the concurrent use of benzodiazepines and opioids, employing risk mitigation strategies and avoiding prescribing of extended release/long-acting opioids for acute pain. Other recommendations are highly concerning and may unintentionally and unnecessarily harm veterans, says Cindy Steinberg, U.S. Pain’s national director of policy advocacy. Supporting veterans and military service members with chronic pain is one of U.S. Pain Foundation’s key national policy priorities.