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Soldiers receive alternative pain management at Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center

Monday, Oct. 22, 2012 5:05 PM
Last updated Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012 2:02 AM
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A new approach to pain management at Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center is setting the tone for the rest of the Army.

Maj. Jeff Tiede, the chairman of the Department of Pain Management at Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center, holds a spine he uses as a demonstration tool for back pain.   KYLE MARTIN/STAFF
KYLE MARTIN/STAFF
Maj. Jeff Tiede, the chairman of the Department of Pain Management at Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center, holds a spine he uses as a demonstration tool for back pain.

The recently launched interdisciplinary pain center focuses on replacing pain medication with alternative remedies such as acupuncture, along with teaching soldiers coping mechanisms for pain. It’s an important resource in an active duty force where muscular skeletal issues make up about 80 percent of medical board evaluations, said Maj. Jeffrey Tiede, the chairman of Eisenhower’s Department of Pain Management.

In the Army, most joint and lower back pain comes from the punishing demands of lifting, twisting and running wearing about 120 pounds of “battle rattle,” including 40 pounds of body armor. Narcotics can provide temporary relief, but there is risk of addiction, and studies have shown no long-term gains from treating pain with medicine, Tiede said.

Instead, the pain team at Eisenhower takes three weeks to wean service members off the drugs through remedies including acupuncture, massages and yoga. Three to four hours of the 10 hour days are spent exercising and teaching soldiers to stretch the muscles that cause them pain. The methods are met with some skepticism. But the soldiers undergoing treatment are eager to get better and stay in the service longer.

“The fortitude and the mindset of the soldiers is phenomenal,” Tiede said.

Eisenhower’s approach to pain management is gaining traction. As a “pain hub,” soldiers from forts Campbell, Benning, Jackson and Stewart come to Eisenhower for treatment. Service members from other branches are also coming to Eisenhower for treatment, including Marines from Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Word of mouth is spreading, also. Tiede said referrals are coming not just from primary care physicians, but commanding officers and platoon sergeants across the Army. The pain is serious, but “the bottom line is they will gain the endurance to manage it themselves,” Tiede said.

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seenitB4
81170
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seenitB4 10/23/12 - 10:36 am
0
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Manage pain..

That would be nice if it really worked...

confusedchik
12
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confusedchik 10/25/12 - 04:51 pm
1
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Since you are not enrolled

Since you are not enrolled into the program, you dont have room to speak negatively. These are soldiers that have fought for our country and want to try to get to a level so they can get a better grip on thier pain. How would you like to live life at a constant 7-8 pain level and still have to wear full military gear and do daily PT? Until you can say you experienced such, you have no place saying it doesnt work.

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