Chronic pain is a global epidemic with 1 in 3 suffering. But in Veterans 1 in 2 have developed chronic pain following active service and have a high chance of long-term opioid pain-killer addiction.

Helping Veterans live a pain-free life

Chronic pain is a global epidemic with two thirds of the world's population suffering from persistent and debilitating pain. In Veterans 40-50 per cent who saw active service in Iraq and Afghanistan have developed chronic pain compared to 29 per cent of the general population.

Veterans are also often discharged from military service with high dose opioids to relieve their pain. Recent research has shown that opioids lead to dependency and fatalities from accidental overdose. Furthermore, they can lead to pain hypersensitivity whereby the opioid itself is reducing their natural ability to limit pain sensations. This leads to a chronic pain cycle that can occur in the absence of ongoing tissue damage.

CORE will be undertaking a research study to assess the impact of osteopathic treatment on Veterans and their carers with musculoskeletal injuries and conditions. Previous research identified musculoskeletal problems as the most common cause of medical discharge in the British armed forces. This is accompanied by chronic pain that can be caused by severe injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder. As these problems are chronic and often resistant to treatment, our study will investigate whether osteopathy can have beneficial effects on suffering veterans.

Research aims

The aim is to investigate the impact osteopathy can have on treating chronic pain in veterans.

This will be shown by data collected from pre- and post-/follow-up questionnaires at 6 weeks, at 12 weeks, 6 months and 1 year.

Treatment will involve 6 sessions of osteopathic manipulative therapy (OMT) using an evidence-based biopsychosocial approach. Treatment modalities will include soft-tissue massage, spinal manipulation, functional and myofascial release as well as exercise and occupational advice and neurophysiology of pain education.

At the end of a treatment episode, patient reported experience measures (PREMs) and global impression of change measures will be taken and analysed.


  • Fayaz A, Croft P, Langford RM, et al (2016). Prevalence of chronic pain in the UK: a systematic review and meta-analysis of population studies BMJ Open; 6:e010364.
  • Gauntlett-Gilbert, J. and Wilson, S. (2013). Veterans and chronic pain. British Journal of Pain; 7(2): pp.79-84.
  • Cyrila & Janeb (2016). The dark side of opioids in pain management: basic science explains clinical observation. PAIN Reports; 1 (2): p e570.


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