- Active duty military service members who received nonpharmacological treatments (NPT) for chronic pain from the Military Health System (MHS) before transferring to the Veterans Health Administration had a significantly lower risk for long-term adverse outcomes than those who did not receive NPT while on active duty.
Why this matters
- Those who received early NPT had lower risks for alcohol and/or drug use disorders; accidental poisoning with opioids, related narcotics, barbiturates, or sedatives; suicidal ideation; and self-inflicted injuries including suicide attempts.
- 142,539 active duty Army service members (median age, 26 years) reported chronic pain after an index deployment to Iraq/Afghanistan.
- NPT included acupuncture/dry needling, biofeedback, chiropractic care, massage, exercise therapy, cold laser therapy, osteopathic spinal manipulation, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation and other electrical manipulation, ultrasonography, superficial heat treatment, traction, and lumbar supports.
- Funding: NIH.
- Median total duration of deployments: 446 days.
- Median duration of observation in the MHS after the index deployment: 1274 days.
- Receipt of NPT was associated with lower risk for:
- alcohol and/or drug use disorders (aHR, 0.90; P<.001>
- poisoning with opioids/related narcotics/barbiturates/sedatives (accidental: aHR, 0.61 [P<.001 ahr>
- suicidal ideation (aHR, 0.83; P<.001 and>
- self-inflicted injuries including suicide attempts (aHR, 0.80; P<.001>
- Observational design.
Coauthored with Chitra Ravi, MPharm