Fort Bliss center offers interdisciplinary approach to pain
El Paso Times
EL PASO, Texas — Beaumont Army Medical Center has opened a pain center that brings together traditional and nontraditional treatment methods to better serve injured and wounded soldiers at Fort Bliss.
The Interdisciplinary Pain Management Center opened at West Fort Bliss in April at 2485-D Hinman Road and 2487 Ricker Road, across from Desert Strike Lanes.
The idea is to create a one-stop shop for soldiers who need help with pain, said Col. Richard Petri, chief of the pain center and director of the Center of Integrative Medicine at Beaumont. Petri is also a medical doctor specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation.
Even though the center is housed in two buildings, they are right next to each other.
The pain center brings together traditional methods of pain management such as injections, prescriptions, physical therapy and exercise with what's called integrative medicine modalities such as acupuncture, meditation, yoga, massage and chiropractic manipulations, Petri said.
Right now, the center's main program treats only active-duty soldiers who are attached to the Warrior Transition Battalion. These soldiers have been injured or wounded in combat or while training for combat.
But it's not just about bringing different treatment methods together, Petri said.
"It's about bringing all these disciplines together as a team in one place," Petri said.
The center was made possible by $4.1 million from the Office of the Army Surgeon General.
"Patients will come in the morning, get seen by the team, a care plan will be developed, and treatment will begin that day or shortly thereafter," Petri said.
"They can see a massage therapist who works on a knot, then a chiropractor who does a manipulation, then a primary care doctor," Petri said. "They can then see the pharmacist to maximize their medicine and they can see a clinical psychologist to deal with any stress-related issues dealing with the pain."
The goal is to do that all in a single day, Petri said.
The center opened with eight staff members and will have 33 by the end of this month. About 30 to 40 patients are seen a day, but the number will go up to about 100 a day once the full staff is in place later this month, Petri said.
The pain center also offers an Acute Intensive Outpatient Program for all soldiers who suffer from pain that is less than a week old and if there is no history of trauma. This is a test program for the rest of the Army, Petri said.
Future plans include expanding the pain center's main program to treat all other active-duty soldiers, retired military and their family members within the next year or two.
The center will also move into a larger building
once funding becomes available so it truly becomes a one-stop shop, Petri said.
Other plans include adding a culinary skills center where patients can learn how to cook in more healthful ways, a research center on pain management and a service to manage pain before and after surgery.