Returning to old hobbies or forming new ones is a great way for active Service members and veterans to reacquaint themselves with “normal” life when they are not deployed or when they are no longer actively serving. The physical damage that Service members incur while serving range from concussions to multiple amputations (NCBI), and the struggle to overcome chronic pain often gets in the way of partaking in activities that they enjoy.
Warrior Care is one of many organizations working to highlight the importance of veterans having hobbies they look forward to doing. “Many Service members return to the hobbies they enjoyed before their wound, illness or injury, and many Service members try new things they never even attempted before, proving that wounded warriors need not be defined by what they have lost. Instead, they can excel and define what it means to be a wounded warrior for the rest of us” (Warrior Care). Sometimes, old hobbies may not be of interest to a veteran anymore, or new injuries make it hard or feel impossible to do. This is where physical therapy comes in!
At Optivus, we treat a lot of veterans who experience back and hip pain as a result of their time in service. Physical therapy is an excellent alternative to opioids for pain management. A reported 82% of Iraq/Afghanistan war veterans suffer from chronic pain (NCBI). To treat chronic pain, physical therapy does more than mask the pain like opioids do; physical therapists work with our patients to treat their pain through movement and personalized care plans that help patients feel their best – naturally (Move Forward PT). With the help of physical therapy, many veterans can return the hobbies they once loved, or even form new ones that interest them now.
Along with physical therapy treatment to overcome chronic pain, Make the Connection also recommends that Service members and veterans exercise regularly, maintain a healthy diet, and get a good night of sleep as often as possible. Combining these practices with enjoyable hobbies is a great way for veterans to transition back to and excel in their “normal” life. Great hobbies to try out include cooking, weight lifting, running, swimming, biking, rock climbing, hiking, hunting, fishing, or joining a local club or charity to name a few!
We want to extend a special thank you to all Service members, veterans, and military families. We greatly appreciate your incredible service, sacrifice, and bravery.