Vets, Chronic Headaches and Acupuncture
Desperate to avoid opioids and the horrible long-term effects associated with these powerful and sometimes life altering drugs, our nation’s combat veterans are turning to alternative therapies for pain from conditions like chronic headaches, disabling injuries and post traumatic stress disorder. One such therapy is acupuncture; which has been used to treat migraines free of drugs. Other alternative treatments being used to help veterans, who return from war zones in Afghanistan and Iraq, manage post-combat disabilities include equine therapy, tai chi, guided imagery, alpha stimulation, yoga and hypnosis.
According to a recent article in the Washington Post the Veterans Administration (VA) has launched several model programs to provide patients with alternative therapies in lieu of administering prescription medication. While opioids can provide relief at the beginning, according to physicians, the patients often require follow-up medication to address nasty physical and psychological side effects. These drugs also pose a high risk for chemical dependence and addiction. With over 600,000 vets receiving pain drugs, VA and Pentagon physicians caution that these meds are linked with homelessness, loss of employment, family tension and suicide.
One retired warrior, suffering with chronic migraine headaches said he was searching for a way to be free of migraine drugs, when he was offered Botox therapy. Delighted, he reported that his migraines have diminished in frequency, and his forehead is looking better. Botox, alpha stimulation and acupuncture, work to alleviate headaches by temporarily blocking pain signals. This is somewhat analogous to how the Omega migraine procedure, a long lasting treatment, blocks pain signals associated with migraine attacks.
The veterans interviewed for the news report were evidently grateful to finally be receiving drug free alternative therapies to alleviate their agony. One former intelligence officer said, “I used to take a half a dozen painkillers a day, maybe more, and wash ’em down with scotch.” An officer in the Marines said, prior to receiving alternative therapies in the program, he depended on a daily dose of 15 pills; “a giant sack of nasty freaking opioids, then an opioid patch, then antidepressants and then stool softeners… Nothing was helping, the pills made me even more of a mess.”
Recognizing the dangers and counterproductive effects associated with painkillers, the government has invested nearly $22 million over the next 5 years to research the possibilities for treating veterans with alternative therapies. If someone you care about is suffering with chronic headache pain, you may want to suggest they learn more about how the Omega migraine procedure could be the right investment for their health.