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Veterans and Back Pain

December 12, 2017

 

Following duty in the Armed Forces, many veterans have found that their backs have suffered a great deal.  Tasks such as carrying heavy packs and weapons not to mention the everyday wear and tear from military duty have placed a great deal of stress on veteran’s backs.  So much so, that chronic back pain is a common complaint of many Veterans. 

 

MUSCULOSKELETAL PAIN AND INJURY

 

Several sources of data point to high rates of musculoskeletal pain in veterans and serving military personnel. The best-conducted surveys of veterans’ overall health investigated the experiences of Gulf War veterans.

 

  • Kang et al surveyed 11,000 American Gulf War veterans; the most commonly self-rated ‘severe’ healthcare problem (amongst all possible problems) was back pain (17%), followed by joint pain (15%). [1]   

  • Unwin et al surveyed 4000 British Gulf War veterans six years after deployment, and also found that back pain was the most common self-reported health problem at 36% (again, amongst all possible health problems; this reported rate is likely to be higher as there was no judgement of ‘severity’). [2]

These high rates of back and joint pain are not purely due to Gulf War deployment, as they are mirrored in comparable non-Gulf veteran cohorts. Unwin et al. also surveyed a similar-sized cohort deployed to Bosnia and another cohort deployed to neither (called the ‘Era’ group). Back pain was also the most commonly reported problem (Bosnia, 24%; Era, 28%). Thus, back pain is common in veterans who have been operationally deployed and in those who have not, and so is likely to represent a key healthcare need of veterans. 

 

A military back injury can lead to months of rehabilitation, possible surgery and disability; many veterans continue to suffer and as a result some are unable to find jobs or perform everyday activities as a result of their ongoing symptoms from lower back problems.  As they continued to search for solutions, we have learned through the opioid epidemic, drugs are not the long term solution. With our country’s military at around two million service personal, a better solution to managing pain is of utmost importance for both our veterans and active duty personal.      

 

CAUSES OF A SEVERE MILITARY BACK INJURY

 

One of the most common culprits of back injuries is training. From initial entry training to field training, to physical training to military occupational training, the overuse of the back during endurance training can wreak havoc on a soldier’s spine.

Some other common causes of these back injuries include but not limited to:

  • Physical combat

  • Heavy packs (some in excess of 100 pounds)

  • Overuse (running, jumping, calisthenics)

  • Motor vehicle collisions

  • Trauma

COMMON BACK INJURIES FOR SERVICE MEMBERS

 

Some common back injuries experienced by veterans that may result in disability benefits include:

  • Lumbosacral strain

  • Intervertebral disc syndrome

  • Sacroiliac joint dysfunction

  • Misaligned vertebra

  • Chronic lower back pain

  • Bulging discs

  • Degenerative Disc

  • Mechanical lower back pain

According to a study analyzing more than 41,500 disability cases among military women using the U.S. Army Physical Disability Agency found that lumbosacral strain and intervertebral disc syndrome were the most preventable conditions for back disability claims.3

 

 BioBack can give our Veterans hope and a new life. 

 

Active Relief:  BioBack combines two forces to create comfortable, support that relaxes the muscles of the lower back.  The result is proper postural support and alignment leading to reduced muscle tension and pain and improved mobility in the lower back.  A clinical trial demonstrated that BioBack reduced tension in key muscles in the lower back by an average of 46 %-far in excess of the results provided by conventional bigger and bulkier braces.  Significantly, BioBack offers pain relief that is non-narcotic and drug-free.  The BioBack Lumbar Orthosis has been prescribed by tens of thousands of physicians for their patients who suffer from lower back pain. 

 

[1]  Kang HK, Mahan CM, Lee Y, et al. Illnesses among United States veterans of the Gulf War: a population-based survey of 30,000 veterans. J Occup Environ Med 2000; 42: 491–501. [PubMed]

[2]  Unwin C, Blatchley N, Coker W, et al. Health of UK servicemen who served in the Persian Gulf War. Lancet 1999; 353: 169–178. [PubMed]
[3]  Musculoskeletal Injuries in Military Women.  Borden Institute; Colonel Barbara A. Springer, PhD, PT, OCS, SCS,and Major Amy E. Ross, MD

 

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