Many soldiers have suffered from the pain of carrying packs that could weight more than 100 pounds through difficult terrain, doctors have learned. Army medical personal have often turned to opiates to alleviate pain, but they are trying to reduce that tendency in recent years. An Army report even recommended some alternative measures, like chiropractic care, massage, meditation, and acupuncture.
A doctor trained in acupuncture told a confidant that these treatments have been a great help to many patients, helping them not only suffer less spinal pain, but use fewer narcotics.
“This has been more than what I hoped for,” the doctor told a colleague. One of her patients is a soldier who developed bone spurs and an arthritic condition due to carrying his heavy equipment load. The doctor inserted needles a quarter-inch deep into his neck and shoulder muscles, then hooked the needles to a mild electrical current, while shining an infrared lamp on him. The whole process only lasted 15 minutes.
The soldier claimed he felt better, and looks forward to three more sessions. There are few doctors who know how to use these therapies, however, and military insurance will not pay for most alternative services from civilian providers.
Another way the Army is looking to reduce spinal injuries and lumbar spinal injury is to improve the conditioning of soldiers. Still, we all know there is no amount of conditioning that will prevent injuries caused by carrying 100 pounds of gear over a year of combat.
Studies in Manhattan and Queens confirm these findings.
New York Spinal Injury Lawyers and the Army both agree that lightening the load is the only real solution, and continue to work toward that goal.