This Advanced Research Workshop (ARW), “Wounds of War IV: Pain Syndromes – From Recruitment to Returning Troops,” was convened to discuss the topic of increased pain syndromes in service men and women around the world. Research has shown that those who have served in both combat missions and peacekeeping operations are at an increased risk for pain syndromes. Research suggests that this may result from their “wounds of war.” Some wounds may be more “invisible,” such as suicide, depression, stress and traumatic brain injury, while others are more visibly apparent, such as physical disabilities.
During this workshop, we discussed many aspects of pain and how to effectively deal with this issue. Specifically, some of the questions addressed were:
1. The Vulnerability to Pain syndromes: Are certain types of people at a higher risk for pain syndromes (background, ethnicity, childhood trauma, etc.)?
2. The Diagnosis and Assessment Issues of Pain Syndromes: Which methods are used to diagnose and assess pain?
3. The Treatment of Pain Syndromes: What are the latest treatment and therapy opportunities for soldiers who experience pain syndromes?
4. Clinical Updates on Pain Syndromes: What can we learn from recent clinical updates on pain syndromes?
Through this workshop, we have come closer to understanding what programs are already in place in various countries for detection, assessment, prevention, and treatment. Through the presentation of these existing plans, practitioners can start to formulate a more common set of best practices and guidelines which can be implemented throughout organizations in countries worldwide with the common goal to always seek to serve our service members more effectively.
This ARW has given participants an opportunity to foster essential international collaborative research on pain syndromes, a common and disabling consequence of war, terrorism, and natural disasters. As a result, it represents an important landmark in efforts to help soldiers and civilians of NATO and partner nations become more resilient in the face of international conflict.
The full papers within this publication focus on the key presentations during the workshop, act as the permanent record of this event and provide tangible documentation of the ideas that formed the basis of discussion and collaboration at the workshop. This text is organized to mirror the program from the event so as to provide an overview of the ideas of presenters and participants in the ARW.
Financial support for the workshop was provided by several sponsors. We would like to acknowledge the generous contributions of the NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme, the Croatian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, the Austrian Ministry of Defence (MOD), the University Hospital Dubrava, the Virtual Reality Medical Institute, the Interactive Media Institute and the Virtual Reality Medical Center.
The workshop was organized and this accompanying publication was compiled and edited jointly by the Interactive Media Institute, San Diego, California, USA and Virtual Reality Medical Institute, Brussels, Belgium. Professor Dr. Brenda K. Wiederhold and Professor Dr. Krešimir Ćosić, as conference co-chairs, selected and invited the majority of the speakers and participants. Conference coordinator Mr. James Cullen organized logistics including registration, travel, lodging and meals, assembling of workshop materials, and other arrangements for the ARW. Prof. Dr. Wiederhold chose the beautiful Austrian location where the event took place and Mr. Daniele Pizzioli helped with registration and on-site direction for attendees. Ms. Emily Butcher, Ms. Allison Ines and Ms. Christina Valenti reviewed the conference program and full manuscripts, helping with editing and assembly of this and other associated texts.