Published by WTOP

The Army nurse was injured in a bus crash in 2007 while on his way to a domestic training mission in South Dakota. The driver fell asleep at the wheel and hit a bridge, leaving Sears with damage to his back and left hip — and the possibility of a lifetime of chronic pain.

“I actually did become dependent on the medication I took,” says Sears, adding that addiction to opioid painkillers is a problem facing too many, both in and out of the military.

As time passed, he saw others benefit from a set of alternative pain management techniques that are being tested by the military medical system to help both active duty members of the armed services and veterans.

Gradually, he began to try different options available through the pain management program at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda — from acupuncture, to yoga, to mind-body wellness.

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