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U of U to study back pain treatment among veterans

UNIVERSITY OF UTAH – The University is getting a multi-million dollar grant from the National Institute of Health and the Department of Defense to treat back pain among active military members without using medications.

Doctors say back pain isn’t just physical, and things like PTSD can make it a lot worse.  College of Health Associate Dean Julie Fritz says, “Recovery is much more predicted by things like depression and anxiety than it is by physical kinds of variables.”  She adds, “That makes dealing with back pain far more complicated than a civilian who experiences back pain, and that’s hard enough to deal with.”

However, there are already enough problems with relying too much on opioid pain pills.  So, they’ll be using the $6.5 million to look at every other imaginable treatment for back pain, like acupressure, acupuncture and why certain treatments work well for some people, but not for others. “It would be nice if we had a magic bullet treatment that just fixed everyone,” Fritz says.

The school will spend the first two years of their six-year plan devising the best ways to plan their study.  She says, “There’s a lot of work to be done, as you can imagine, to put in place the procedures, train people and set up the data collection methods.”

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