|The National Institutes of Health and the Department of Veterans Affairs this week announced that they will launch a five-year, $21.7 million initiative to study the effectiveness of alternative therapies to opioids through a series of 13 research projects.|
Nearly half of all troops returning home from Afghanistan and Iraq are suffering from chronic pain, more than double the civilian population, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. Many of those veterans have been prescribed opioids.
The drugs often have disabling side effects, and some studies show they are often addictive and may exacerbate pain conditions in some patients.
The joint research program includes studies on the use of morning light to treat lower-back pain and post-traumatic stress disorder, and the use of chiropractors, self-hypnosis and meditation to reduce pain, said Josephine P. Briggs, director of the National Center of Complementary and Alternative Medicine at NIH.
Funding for the initiative comes from the NCCAM, the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the VA’s Health Services Research and Development Division. The research projects will be done at academic institutions and VA medical centers across the United States.
“This is a very urgent issue for the soldiers returning home – the magnitude of the problem is huge,” Briggs...