Back Pain and Combat—For The Military Mom
Combat experience associated with back pain may seem an odd topic for a post. After all, you maybe thinking, how can back pain compare to mutilated limbs or brains splattered all over the ground. The most decorated U.S. soldier of World War II, Audie Murphy returned home a hero and became an actor, starring in his own story, To Hell and Back. His description of the emotional turmoil, he suffered from post traumatic stress disorder throughout his life, as a result of his combat experiences still move me.
He recalled a visit to a garden and said he couldn’t even bring himself to touch the flowers for fear that he’d somehow harm them. In comparison to the more traumatic experiences of war, you’d be forgiven if you thought that back pain and combat is a small matter—nothing to worry about. However, such thinking ignores the very real problem of brave men and women who on the outside may look fine but suffer from excruciating back pain and don’t have the support structure of their civilian counter parts. This post is my way of making, even in a small way, a difference by exposing a subject that is rarely spoken—back pain and combat experience.
Back Pain And Deployment
According to a study, published in Spine— with an analysis of 53,933 military personnel— “ Combat experience appears to be the primary risk factor rather than deployment itself, perhaps because of the higher physical demands and psychological load from life-threatening combat situations. Service support or supply handlers had increased odds of back pain compared with functional support or administrative occupations.”
Let’s examine the above statement point by point
Combat experience is primary risk rather than deployment. In an earlier post, speaking about the negative effects stress has on the body, I wrote the following: Cortisol, the hormone your body produces when you’re feeling stressed, can take a heavy toll on your physical and mental health. Because of this, giving your mind time to relax and recover is one of the most important self-care routines that you can practice. Your state of mind has the potential to greatly benefit your health, or degrade it, over time.
Unlike their civilian counterparts who may also face highly stressful situations, soldiers are rarely given the opportunity to de-stress. Civilians, to illustrate, have access to a whole category of techniques that help people calm the body and release tension. One such treatment is Biofeedback. This approach teaches you how to control normally unconscious bodily functions, like blood pressure or your heart rate. You can Check the following for pain lasting more than 12 weeks. To summarize the above point, those in combat experience have no outlet that will constructively allow them to minimize stress and that increases the chances of back pain. A study in nationalpainreport.com states “ Deployment with combat experiences was found to increase the odds of back pain and repeated back pain in a relatively young U.S. military and veteran population.”
Let’s take the second point: Service handlers had increased odds of back pain compared with functional support or administrative occupations. Years ago I worked as part of a morning crew that unloader trucks. The repetitious task of carrying heavy cartons from the truck to a pallet gave me an aching back, and that was just doing two hours of heavy work. Service handlers in the military work a lot longer hours performing repetitious tasks that involve lifting heavy loads. It makes sense than that they would have experience higher incidents of back pain than those working in the office.
Combat and Diet
You might have seen photos on FaceBook that allegedly show maggots infested tomatoes and raw chicken as examples of bad food severed to our soldiers. While this is sensational and outrageous if true, one doesn’t need to look at extreme cases to appreciate the link between diet and back pain as it relates to combat experience. Let’s assume that indeed our soldiers are provided with foods that are safe to eat. This still doesn’t answer the question as to whether they have access to foods that reduce stress and provide enough to replenish and rebuild a body that is perhaps breaking down from the strain of combat. In an earlier post,https://healthybacksupport.com/foods-that-help-reduce-stress-become-a-happier-you I made the following observation:
If you are under a lot of stress it’s a good idea to consume foods high in magnesium.
Consumption оf these foods stimulate the production оf а neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Thе production оf GABA helps іn inducing relaxation and sleep. Thіѕ inhibitory transmitter аlѕо has the added benefit of lessening anxiety. Magnesium іѕ аlѕо а muscle relaxant and beneficial fоr soothing frayed nerves. Sоmе оf the foods that аrе rich іn magnesium include spinach, broccoli, lettuce, skimmed yogurt, pumpkin, scallops, oysters, black beans, bananas, avocados, apricots, walnuts and cashews.
It’s easy enough for the average person to get some nerve calming food, maybe not so much for the average solider. This reality is another reason why stress related back pain is still a big problem that the military brass cannot ignore.
According to the latest report by the National Center For Health Statistics, back pain is a medical condition that has resulted in 85 billion in U.S. costs annually. So most of us are aware of how back pain effects us, those we love, our friends, and our community. I hope that after reading this post you have become more aware of how back pain affects our soldiers. This post is dedicated to my mom, a back pain sufferer and former nurse. She asked the question, “why doesn’t anyone ever really talk about what soldiers are going through?” Well mom, I hope I did my part. Everyone else, please feel free to leave a comment. I would especially love to hear from you if you , a friend, or family member has experienced back pain related to military service.
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like to hear from the readers so please leave me a comment below to let me know if this post helped you or if you have any questions.