Bliss clinic uses alternative treatment for Soldiers’ pain
Sgt. Michael Armstrong,
24th Press Camp Headquarters:
Pain – whether physical or mental, chronic or acute, doctors are treating it in different ways. During the course of combat operations, physical fitness and everyday training, thousands of injured service members are living with pain and are typically given drugs as their first course of action.
Since late last year, Fort Bliss’ Interdisciplinary Pain Management Center is taking a more holistic, multi-disciplinary, patient-centered approach to the treatment of pain.
Through the use of acupuncture, chiropractic services, mind-body medicine and Reiki massage, the staff at the IPMC have more services to assist in the treatment of traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and nerve issues.
“In 2009 the Army’s Surgeon General’s office chartered a task force to look at pain management within the military in reaction to media reports that we weren’t doing so well in treating our service members with pain,” said Col. Richard Petri, Chief of the Interdisciplinary Pain Management Center at Fort Bliss.
Since the release of the task force’s findings, eight centers have been opened at different installations to review alternative medical practices to enhance the quality of care for the war fighter and other military medicine beneficiaries.
The goal of the task force was to set up pain management in a localized one-stop shop where patients can come and do all the modalities at once.
“It’s more than just having everything all together,” said Petri. “It’s about having all the team members together to focus on better treating the patient’s chronic pain.”
Petri’s staff treats close to 100 patients daily. While the IPMC started out to treat patients with chronic pain and is now in the beginning process of treating acute pain through a walk-in service.
“We started a new program here for the treatment of acute pain,” said Petri. “We have a team of professionals and about three to four providers that meet with the patient to do a collective assessment, history and put together a treatment plan. We start that plan the same day.”
The criteria for this program are if the patient is experiencing acute pain for less than a week, pain of the neck or back and has no history of recent trauma or broken bones.
“We follow them for two weeks,” explained Petri. “We administer treatments at least twice a week, whether it be acupuncture trigger points, chiropractic, exercise or stress management.”
Petri went on to explain that after the initial two weeks they will do another assessment and if the patient has his pain well under control or relieved then the patient is dismissed from the program. If not, they will develop a new treatment plan and follow through up to six months to see what impact the IPMC has had on the patient.
“The ultimate goal is to quickly and appropriately treat acute pain before it becomes chronic pain,” Petri added. “It’s a very new program and we’re trying to figure out how to best serve the Soldiers.”
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