Acupuncture Treatments For Chronic Pain Increase Within The U.S. Armed Forces

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The increased usage of alternative medicines within the military has been previously documented, as more and more members of the armed forces are being offered treatments outside of traditional Western medicine options. Many military medical sites are now embracing Traditional Chinese Medicine and as such, there has been a surge in the use of acupuncture for treating chronic back pain in service members.

The Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center published a recent update on this matter in its Medical Surveillance Monthly Report. Within the document, the authors report on findings from a survey that demonstrate an increase in usage and acceptance of CAM (complementary and alternative medicines) by active-duty service members. That   includes acupuncture which is available at 180 sites of military medical care.  

This significant increase in acupuncture treatment took place between 2010 and 2015. It was used to treat “other and unspecified disorders of the back”, which is listed as the most common diagnosis, followed by “acute and chronic pain.”

As reported previously, many servicemen have in the past turned to prescription drugs to alleviate chronic pain. This led to a newly branded style of acupuncture known as “Battlefield Acupuncture” becoming more widespread as a way to lessen the amount of people taking opioids. Together with these latest findings, it appears that the U.S. Armed Forces are determined to bring a wide array of healthcare options to its members. Depending on the specifics of a person’s needs, there’s often a way to avoid administering pharmaceuticals which can lead to drug dependency and other harsh side effects.

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