Active service members put both their minds and bodies in the line of duty throughout their time in the military, and many veterans may continue to feel the effects of their service long after their time as active members of the military. Veterans from any branch of the armed forces can experience emotional turmoils as they transition to civilian life through changes in culture in addition to prevalent feelings of anxiety, depression, or trauma. However, their bodies can also continue to carry a toll from active duty. Chronic pains are common among military veterans for a multitude of reasons. Addressing these chronic pains and the experiences attached to them in a healthy manner is necessary for a healthy civilian life.

Identifying the Sources of Chronic Pains

Chronic pains can come from many different sources and can continue to affect veterans in various ways throughout their daily lives. However, that doesn’t mean that chronic pains will manifest in the same way for each veteran. Exploring the unique relationship that veterans have with continued chronic pain in daily life will greatly inform their coping mechanisms and recovery plan. 

For some, these chronic pains can stem from the intense training regimens that military personnel overcome on a daily basis. Constantly pushing both their bodies and minds to the limit can have lasting consequences later in life. However, chronic pains can also serve as a reminder of these training and bonding experiences with those in each veteran’s unit and the close connections made along the way. Not only can such chronic pains be painful in and of themselves, but they can also bring feelings of longing for these people or times when one felt accepted and a part of such a community. 

Other chronic pains may stem from traumatic injuries incurred in the line of duty. Navigating an active warzone and the life-threatening dangers therein can lead to lasting injuries. Even the most appropriate medical attention for coping with these injuries can lead to lasting chronic pains that define a veteran’s civilian life. These kinds of chronic pains can come coupled with the traumatic memories of the warzone, flashbacks, or other symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), leading to a complex set of needs and goals in recovery. 

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Chronic Pains, Substance Use, and Addiction

Veterans experiencing chronic pains can also be at an increased risk of developing an addiction. For some, chronic pains may be treated with prescription painkillers. However, prescription painkillers can often be addictive themselves, creating a dependency on their use to cope with these pains. 

Other chronic pains can be tied to intense emotional feelings of trauma or loss, as each time an individual feels these pains, they are also being reminded of painful memories. It is common for veterans to turn to the use of addictive substances like drugs or alcohol to not only placate physical pain but also to address the emotions and memories that may further inform the use of addictive substances or other self-destructive practices, such as isolation, increase in risk-taking behaviors, and more. 

Overcoming Chronic Pains for an Effective Recovery

Recovery for veterans is not just about addressing the use of drugs or alcohol, but also the chronic pains that often inform substance use. Dedicated, professional care can help veterans in recovery address their physical needs, including processing chronic pains, while developing personalized strategies to challenge the use of drugs and alcohol. Specialized medical support can also help veterans better understand these pains and their connection to substance use. 

Fostering Self-Care Strategies

Employing conscious self-care strategies can empower veterans to better understand chronic pains and better tend to their physical health. It is common to feel limited or held back by these pains, which can have a heavy emotional impact on veterans. Dedicated veteran recovery professionals can help veterans create effective schedules and self-care strategies to manage their energy and daily life, providing the body with the necessary healing strategies to avoid any unnecessary detriments of chronic pains. 

Utilizing Trauma-Informed Mindfulness Practices

Recovery strategies like yoga, meditation, or oceanic therapy can also be instrumental in keeping the body moving in a healthy way while addressing any mental health needs. Having trauma-informed professionals and veteran peers to facilitate the effective use of these practices for coping with the effects of chronic pain can be the beginning of new outlets in civilian life. 

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Facilitating a Healthy Diet

Lastly, dietary guidance can also be instrumental, and dedicated professionals can not only help scaffold effective daily practices for coping with chronic pains and their emotional effects but also help veterans ensure they are treating their bodies with the right nutrients and support. By tending to dietary needs, physical needs, and emotional needs in tandem, veterans overcoming chronic pains and their effects can create their own personalized best practices while exploring the various benefits of our effective treatment centers in Hawaii.

Chronic pains can be both physically and emotionally difficult to process for veterans in civilian life. Having a dedicated space to challenge and overcome these pains and their emotional impact can be necessary for lasting healing and sobriety. At Hawaii Island Recovery, we are prepared to address both sides of these challenges, and our dedicated, holistic approach to recovery makes our treatment centers in Hawaii a great place to begin a transformative recovery journey. From medication support to spiritual healing and our commitment to healing the whole self, our dedicated, veteran-specific care can help you today. For more information on how we can personalize your time with us, call to speak to us today at (866) 390-5070.