The Weight Of War: New Efforts To Treat Pain

[Having worked as a college student summers in some factory and construction jobs, I am well aware that heavy weights can injure backs permanently — as was the aircraft plant back in the 1950s which prohibited us from lifting more than 30 pound loads. This was not altruism. They knew that injured workers could cost them money.

I am amazed, then, that those who have no knowledge of such things want to raise the age for social security, etc.

As an elder — just turned 68 — I am well aware of pain — arthritis and treatments for it. I am suffering from those things mentioned below and getting the treatments — heavy pain killers (make me dull and I fight that with coffee), physical therapy (a new field requiring 3 years of study and a great help to me, and other non-traditional treatments that help, too. One of my daughters is on her way to a Ph.D. in nursing with 4 children in tow. The other is a specialist in non-traditional meds — yoga, massage, etc. Between the two, I have a close eye on my medical needs.

What really gets to me is the blindness of so many to the pain suffered by physical workers at early ages. One of my students fell off a roof and would halt the pain killers on class days so he could concentrate. I think Obama is aware of these things, but needs to fight harder against the Republicans who obviously don’t give a damn about human suffering — only their profits.

What follows reports on the suffering of our young soldiers who are carrying too heavy stuff. I fear that far too many of them will have their lives ended before they can be begun. Ed Kent]

The Weight Of War: New Efforts To Treat Pain

Patricia Murphy
02/15/2011 Share This

Soldiers and Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan routinely carry from 60 to more than 100 pounds of gear. The heavy load shouldered over many months of duty contributes to the chronic pain suffered by many soldiers.

Specialist Joseph Chroniger deployed to Iraq in 2007. Chroniger is 25 years old and he suffers debilitating pain from a form of degenerative arthritis and bone spurs.

Chroniger: “My neck hurts every day, every day. You can’t concentrate on anything but that, because it hurts that bad.”

Pain care is an emerging field. Currently most doctors rely on some combination of painkillers and physical therapy. The Army is starting to incorporate other forms of treatment like yoga, acupuncture and meditation.

KUOW’s Patricia Murphy has the second part of our collaborative series with the Seattle Times: “The Weight Of War.”

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent [blind copies]

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