In the military magazine, Stars and Stripes, I read a report about doctors treating injured soldiers with acupuncture while they are being transported from Ramstein to the States. The doctors hope to control the soldiers’ pain during the air evacuation. This is all part of a study about battlefield acupuncture.
The article quotes Air Force Dr. (Col.) Richard Niemtzow, who said that he hopes the use of acupuncture will reduce the amount of narcotics used during the long flight home.
Overuse of narcotics is a problem in the military. During combat evacuation, morphine and other opiate painkillers are typically given to injured troops because the flights are jarring to their bodies. However, as more soldiers suffer painful injuries, there has been an increase in the number of prescriptions for opiate painkillers. And more troubling, abuse of painkillers is on the rise: About 22 percent of soldiers admitted misusing prescribed drugs, mostly painkillers, in a 12-month period, according to the results of a Pentagon survey released last year.
As a way to reduce the number of painkillers given to soldiers, the military has turned to acupuncture as a potential alternative.
*Doctors testing acupuncture as pain treatment on medical flights
Stars and StripesPublished: January 19, 2011