DVIDS – News – Battlefield Acupuncture Introduced at Naval Health Clinic Corpus Christi


CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Eleven doctors and nurses learned how to reduce pain with semi-permanent needles during the first battlefield acupuncture (BFA) training at Naval Health Clinic (NHC) Corpus Christi on January 27 .

Developed in 2001 by Colonel Richard Niemtzow, US Air Force, and also called Auricular Acupuncture, BFA involves inserting five tiny, sterile 2mm needles into specific points in each ear, where they can remain for up to three days.

According to an article co-authored by Niemtzow and published in Medical Acupuncture in October 2015, “BFA produces rapid pain relief in minutes with almost no side effects. It is an ideal technique to use when pain has not responded to narcotics or when habit-forming drugs are not desired, especially during critical military missions.

NHC Corpus Christi is located at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, home to naval pilot training since 1941. Today, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and foreign student pilots earn their wings by training in the four squadrons of Training Air Wing FOUR.

For many pilots and student naval aviators, pain is an accepted consequence of military service.

Lt. Rachelle F. Wilbur, a Navy nurse at NHC Corpus Christi, says the BFA is a valuable asset for flight training because Airmen can avoid being grounded due to the side effects of painkillers.

“We want to treat their pain and hopefully treat conditions that have persisted for long periods where no other treatment has been effective,” Wilbur said. “Treatments like this can be their bright light of hope out of a pain and multiple medication situation.”

Wilbur arrived in Corpus Christi in June 2016 and served in the Navy for nearly six years. She is currently responsible for the clinic’s support services and is responsible for researching and introducing the two four-hour BFA courses here.

The idea began after a visiting physical therapist with a degree in auricular acupuncture performed BFA on several NHC Corpus Christi patients. One of these patients requested a follow-up because it was so effective.

Initially, Wilbur contacted Niemtzow whose secretary put her in touch with some course providers who contacted her.

But Colonel Dean Hommer, US Army, Brooke Army Medical Center, head of the Department of Pain Management, who has trained more than 100 people in this methodology, was Wilbur’s first choice because of his proximity and cost savings. on command.

“When I contacted Colonel Hommer, I was initially interested in sending our new physiotherapist to San Antonio. But then the idea came up to bring the Colonel here because it would cost the same and that we could get more accredited providers,” Wilbur said, adding that “when I say accredited, I mean accredited in the clinic – the class really only provides certification. So we’re thinking about a month until that they get their initial assessments so they can be accredited to provide that service.

After laying the groundwork for Hommer to teach at NHC Corpus Christi, Wilbur worked with clinic management to make sure everything was safe for patients and the facility was ready.

“The whole clinic really came together to bring this class together,” Wilbur said.

Wilbur says the BFA, open to all patients, is not a one-size-fits-all solution and some patients will need additional treatments until the cause of their pain is resolved. In the physical therapy (PT) world, Wilbur says that’s an advantage; the treatment blocks the pain so that therapy can be completed to treat the cause.

“If we can treat someone who is in pain while they are in physiotherapy, we can help them move, help them with their mobility and muscle strength without them doing their exercises in pain,” said- she declared.

Wilbur was a civilian ER nurse before joining the Navy in 2011, and she was deployed to Afghanistan for eight months where BFA is routinely performed. She says she has high hopes for this new modality.

“I really wanted to help people. I want it to spread throughout the Navy because I really believe in the initiative,” she said. “I saw that it worked for people! Our vendors will eventually transfer and they can take it with them wherever they go, even across the area of ​​responsibility (AOR). And my hope is to have at least one person in each branch clinic, as well as all the providers here who will be certified to do that for people. The fact that we can have such a close relationship with the San Antonio Education Center is wonderful!

NHC Corpus Christi and its Naval Branch Health Clinics located in Kingsville and Fort Worth provide ambulatory care services to more than 13,000 enrolled patients including active duty military personnel, family members, retirees and members family in South Texas and Dallas/Fort Worth. In addition, the command detachment in San Antonio provides primary care services to Navy students at the Fort Sam Houston Medical Education and Training campus, as well as case management and medical board management services. to wounded, ill, and injured Navy and Marine Corps (WII) warriors at San Antonio Military Medical Center (SAMMC).

Date taken: 02.03.2017
Date posted: 02.03.2017 12:14
Story ID: 222438

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