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VA RESEARCH QUARTERLY UPDATE
This Issue: Chronic Disease Care | Table of Contents: Spring 2017 | Download this issue

New Initiatives | Announcements

Collaboration on research into complementary approaches to chronic pain


Yoga is one of several nondrug approaches to treat chronic pain.
<em>(Photo: ©iStock/Oleh_Slobodeniuk)</em>
Yoga is one of several nondrug approaches to treat chronic pain. (Photo: ©iStock/Oleh_Slobodeniuk)

Yoga is one of several nondrug approaches to treat chronic pain. (Photo: ©iStock/Oleh_Slobodeniuk)

A new joint program between VA, the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Defense will promote research into nondrug approaches to treat chronic pain. The goal of the research program is to develop the capacity to implement cost-effective, large scale clinical research in military and VA health care systems.

The NIH funding initiative called the NIH-DoD-VA Pain Management Collaboratory is in the process of selecting grant awardees for both the coordinating center and targeted clinical trials. Its mission is to:

  • establish a coordinating center to provide leadership and technical assistance in all aspects of research on nondrug approaches for pain management;
  • supervise the design of demonstration projects that will conduct clinical trials on nondrug approaches to treat chronic pain for military members, Veterans, and their families; and
  • make data, best practices, and resources available to researchers so that they may create a partnership with health facilities that provide care to the military, Veterans, and their families.

Studies find that roughly 45 percent of the military and 50 percent of Veterans experience pain on a regular basis. There is also a good deal of overlap between chronic pain, posttraumatic stress disorder, and traumatic brain injury. Yet there is a significant problem with effective pain management in these groups.

"There is an ongoing problem with pain among military and veteran populations and an incomplete evidence base for effective pain management," notes HHS in the grant proposal. "Opioids are often prescribed for the treatment of chronic pain, but chronic use is associated with the potential for misuse, abuse, and dependence." That is why NIH, DoD, and VA have joined forces to develop nondrug pain management approaches to complement current analgesic treatments.

For more about VA research on pain management therapies, read "HSR&D Completes Four New Evidence-Mapping Projects," and "VA's special war-injury centers use mind-body approach" or visit the Complementary and Integrative Health and Pain topic pages on the VA Research and Development website.


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