Friday, June 24, 2016
22-Day Challenge, Day 4: Chronic Pain
This is part of a 22 day, 22 push-up challenge to raise awareness for the 22 veterans who commit suicide each day. Being feeble in the upper body, I had to create an adapted plan that will get me to real push-ups by the end, but started at a more vertical angle.
Today I moved from the fireplace mantle which had me closer to standing than horizontal, to the kitchen counter, which is exactly reciprocal of that... 3 feet high with my feet 4 feet out.
And I gotta tell you... Ow.
First lesson is on my other counter days I need to find something to soften the corner. It hurt my hands because the angle was sharp and hard (the fireplace is cement, but the edges ad a bit rounded).
Also, that angle difference was really challenging!
I ended up breaking it in half. Typically when I've done push-ups in the past (which I have not done recently) I did 2 sets of 12, so this seemed reasonable, since I really could not have done all 22 together.
As for veterans and suicide... an angle I haven't seen mentioned, but that I know about and seems likely related, is chronic pain. I spent a decade studying the quality of life of people living with pain. Pain frequently leads to depression, and events such as injury can lead BOTH to PTSD and chronic pain, so it coexists with psychological stuff much of the time.
In 2011, an Institute of Medicine report on "Relieving Pain in America" stated that as many as one-third of all Americans experience persistent pain. The report also noted that Veterans are an especially vulnerable group, with a particularly high prevalence of pain, and very high rates of other complex, multiple medical and mental health concerns.
Significantly, pain has been associated with higher rates of overdose.
One study found among veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom that more than 80% of people had symptoms consistent with chronic pain. The reason, ironically, is improved on site medical practice. People who used to die now live, but live with the results of injuries. The same study found 42% of people had not one symptom, but multiple (with the others in the study being PTSD and persistent postconcussive syndrome (the head injuries we talked about a couple days ago)