Take-Home Message: Post-Deployment Syndrome

Start by creating good sleep patterns and addressing headaches; then it's time to tackle the other symptoms.

As key take-home messages for the care of Post-Deployment Syndrome, Number one...number one through ten is get into a good sleep pattern. That will help almost all of your symptoms to improve--might not get rid of them all; we still need to treat. So that's number one. Don't expect your clinician--or don't expect as a clinician to treat five things on that initial visit. It will not work. So sleep is the key. Look at the key symptoms. Treat those. And then the third important point is headaches limit folk's ability to do things. And again, just like sleep, headaches aren't just treated with pills. Getting your body, your muscles, your blood vessels in your head-- getting them to a point where they're feeling more normal, they're moving more freely, they are being used regularly throughout the day in a pattern that's normal for your body will diminish your--the headaches that occur from Post-Deployment Syndrome as well as the diagnoses that go with it. Very often just causing relaxation of the muscles and the other tissues and having physically used your body during the day will eliminate a lot of the headache symptoms. In addition, there are five or six different types of headaches. Make sure the clinician has identified the type so that we're using the right treatment, whether that's medications or otherwise. So sleep, single-symptom treatment or two-symptom treatment, and headache care are vital for Post-Deployment Syndrome.
Posted on BrainLine November 12, 2010.

Produced by Victoria Tilney McDonough and Brian King, BrainLine.

About the author: David Cifu, MD

David Cifu, MD is chairman of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Medicine in Richmond, Virginia, and national director of the PM&R program office for the Veterans Health Administration.

David X. Cifu, MD