Massage & Bodywork

March/April 2013

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technique classroom to client | @work | Energy work | Myofascial techniques Military Personnel Injuries Solutions for Those Who Serve By Whitney Lowe There is much discussion about the physical challenges facing our veterans and career soldiers. Soldiers today are returning home with longterm, disabling effects from their time in service. The injuries receiving the most—and certainly warranted— attention are posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) resulting from combat incidents. These injuries alone present extraordinary physical, psychological, and emotional challenges for both the active soldier and the veteran. What might be surprising to hear, however, is the fact that the military has one of the highest incident rates of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) of all workforce populations. These soldiers endure ongoing pain and impaired physical function, as many of these injuries go untreated or treated insufficiently. When you add constant pain and physical dysfunction to PTSD and TBI, you have a nasty combination. Besides impairing soldiers' abilities to accomplish their duties, these conditions can end or shorten their careers, hurt their personal lives and families, and even lead to suicide. These issues are recognized, and there are attempts being made by the military to address prevention and treatment (called "warrior resilience training"). Notably, massage therapy is being used with these veterans to some degree, or at least being experimented with. As most massage therapists know, massage has enormous potential as a therapeutic solution for these men and women and their conditions. There are numerous articles available on PTSD treatment and alternative care (see "PTSD is Not Just Everyday Stress" on page 70). Anyone working with someone with PTSD must research how to adequately address the unique needs of these individuals, as there are many special concerns and skills that need to be considered. In this article, let's focus on three MSDs that challenge both active-duty soldiers and veterans. Addressing MSDs can significantly improve a soldier's life experience and career options, 106 massage & bodywork march/april 2013

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