Addicted Vets are Turning to Yoga

Veterans have many challenges that they have to face when returning from combat. Many of the veterans around the country are suffering from chronic pain. Approximately 56 million American adults, veterans included, experience some form of chronic pain. This may include low back pain, arthritis, jaw and lower facial pain, migraine pain and various types of neuropathic pain. A new way to fight this pain, instead of the use of prescription meds, vets are turning to yoga has treatment.

Among Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) veterans some 47 percent report at least a mild level of pain and over half of them report musculoskeletal pain. In a study of OEF/OIF veterans, 43 percent of those assessed reported pain, 63 percent of those veterans reported moderate to severe intensities, and 20 percent reported pain duration in excess of three months.

More of the newest veterans survived than with previous wars but they have more complex injuries because of polytrauma that causes the occurrence of chronic pain conditions, including chronic lower back pain and chronic head pain. According to reports, 28-44 percent of U.S. Gulf War veterans reported low-back pain. Pain was also the most common symptom reported in Persian Gulf War veterans. Those afflicted by chronic pain are more susceptible to depression, anxiety and reduced health-related quality of life.

Over the past 20 years especially, chronic pain has been treated with opioid medications. Opioid prescriptions for chronic pain almost doubled between 1980 and 2000. It is estimated that about two-thirds of OEF/OIF veterans with chronic pain were prescribed opioids over a one-year time frame and one-third were prescribed opioids on a more long-term basis.

The easiest way to fight the pain was with Prescription Drugs

Prescription drug abuse has become a national epidemic. The number of people using prescribed pain relievers as their preferred drug of abuse has increased from 628,000 to 2.7 million. In addition, the rates per 100,000 of emergency room mentions for patients seeking to feed their substance abuse by receiving more opioid drugs increased by 97 percent between 1997 and 2002.

The chronic pain often leads to depression and anxiety causing substance abuse to mask the stress and the pain. In a study, many admitted that their addictions started with treating their pain. Although the use of opioids for pain relief is often necessary, it is obvious that it is being abused.

Now vets are turning to yoga as a treatment, this will help with the pain pill epidemic

The newest type of homeopathic treatment has been yoga. This has been shown to offer the body ways to relax, energize, remodel, and strengthen the body and mind. Yoga can decrease metabolism, quiet one's breathing, stabilize blood pressure, reduce muscle tension, lower heart rate and slow brain wave pattern.

Yoga has also been shown to reduce pain, analgesic requirement and disability, and improve spinal mobility, hence improving physiological functioning. Meditation and pranayama, as well as relaxing asanas, can help patients deal with the emotional aspects of pain, reducing anxiety and depression to decrease the likelihood of drug reliance for emotional and physical relief.

Due to its effectiveness and safety, yoga has been recommended for patients with chronic pain. It is beneficial for all age groups and shows better results than physical therapy in alleviating pain, anxiety and also depression.