One of the more frustrating things I’ve found in working with veterans and others who have disabilities, is that other people (especially medical personnel) refuse to recognize that when someone has an illness or condition, it is going to affect the entire body, not just the area where the injury or illness is located.

For example, if you have had an injury to your ankle while in the service, over the years it is likely to affect your knees, your hips, back, and right on up your spinal column.  This happens because as you favor that ankle, you put more pressure on the other ankle to carry your weight.  You change your posture as you shift to take pressure off the injured ankle, and that in turn stresses your knees, hips, back, shoulders, etc.  The VA too often wants to look at that ankle injury as an individual problem, and not something that will have consequences in other areas of the body too.

Likewise mental distress can also affect your ability to heal.  The nervous energy expended by worrying can slow down the healing process considerably.  In addition, sometimes veterans refuse to take pain medications as prescribed as a form of self-punishment to atone for things they did while in the service.  In order to be effective, you must treat the disease as well as treating the underlying mental problem.

The human body is not made up of disconnected parts and pieces that function independently of one another.  Everything is joined by nerves, blood, muscle and connective tissues.  If you have an injury or illness in one area, it will affect all of you, both mentally and physically.  Perhaps treatment would be more effective if medical professionals would accept this too.


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