Thursday, May 10, 2007

Perspective: Pain care a serious issue for returning troops

WASHINGTON — They call it the coming tsunami, veterans returning from Iraq who will suffer chronic pain years from now. Get ready, military doctors are warning pain specialists, even as they hope that slowly improving battlefield pain control may stem the tide.

The idea is to block the agony faster, and the body’s pain network may not go into the overdrive that sets up the injured for lingering trouble long after they officially have been healed.

“It’s going to take the military to stop thinking of pain as a symptom, a consequence of war,” says Lt. Col. Chester “Trip” Buckenmaier III, an acute pain specialist at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., who is pushing for that change.

“Pain really is a disease. If you don’t manage it early, it leads to serious consequences.”

Read the rest at Marine Corps Times