A partnership among three government agencies has resulted in a multimodal approach to treating chronic pain in U.S. military members, thanks to funding from the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
The departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) recently collaborated on a program addressing pain management comprising 12 research projects expected to be capitalized by approximately $81 million over the course of six years, an NIH release said.
NIH Director Francis Collins noted in the release how important the issue is to military personnel, whom he described as “disproportionately affected.” Statistics indicate that almost 45 percent of active duty soldiers and 50 percent of veterans experience chronic pain, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and post-concussive complications.
“These real-world research projects will accelerate our search for pain management strategies for all Americans, especially as we work to address the nation’s opioid crisis,” Collins said in the release.
The multi-agency effort, called the NIH-DoD-VA Pain Management Collaboratory, focuses on non-drug treatments including yoga, mindfulness and meditation; movement and manual modalities; and cognitive-behavioral approaches.
"We are so pleased to work alongside our federal partners,” Dr. Rachel Ramoni, chief research and development officer for the VA, said in the release. "This work reflects the VA's commitment to reducing opioid overuse and expanding alternative pain management."
Thus far, seven of the 12 grants have been allotted to various scientists nationwide by HHS/NIH, with the rest to be announced later this year.