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Managing Pain With Exercise

How Veterans Are Managing Their Chronic Pain With Simple Exercises

Living with persistent pain is draining, disheartening and limiting – yet notably more veterans struggle with amplified, poorly explained, or ongoing pain and discomfort than Australians who have not been in military service. Being defined as pain that lasts longer than three to six months and is experienced on most days of the week, chronic pain can include everything from specific problems like sore joints, back pain or nerve pain, to more complex and often multifactorial sensations like severe headaches, nausea, stomach aches and more.

With pain comes the natural tendency to withdraw from both physical and social activities, especially if the pain has also left us feeling irritable, short-tempered or withdrawn. Exercise is an important part of the pain management model for chronic pain that can have life-changing benefits – yet is often quickly overlooked by veterans out of fear that it will exacerbate their pain and leave them feeling worse. Here’s how veterans are managing their chronic pain with the help of simple exercises prescribed to them by their exercise physiologist – and how you can get an exercise physio on your team, too.

How Does Exercise Help With Chronic Pain?

Exercise is well-known to have a myriad of general health benefits, including:

  • Strengthening bones and muscles
  • Improving flexibility and joint health
  • Improving balance and coordination
  • Reducing your risk of falling and further pain and injury
  • Helping reduce stress and anxiety
  • Reducing blood pressure
  • Helping your heart and brain health, reducing the risk of a range of conditions including heart disease and depression
  • Improving sleep quality
  • Aiding weight management to reduce stress on joints

When it comes to chronic pain specifically, studies have shown that exercise produces favourable results by reducing pain severity, significantly improving physical function, and improving psychological function and quality of life. Exercise has fewer severe consequences compared to opioid medication for pain management, is individualised and modified to meet each veterans unique needs, and can help reverse the downward cycle of deconditioning of the body and worsening pain. This means that over time, you can get back to doing the things you enjoy and general daily activities with greater ease. 

To find out more about how Exercise Physiology can help you, register your interest here.

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Viewing Your Accepted Conditions

The following steps will help view the accepted conditions of your DVA white card via the MyGov website.

Step 1:

Go to https://my.gov.au

Sign in to your myGov account using your Username and Password.

You can sign in to myGov using the following:

  • Your username (Your myGov username has 2 letters and 6 numbers. For example XY123456)
  • Your email address used to create your account
  • Your mobile number (if you have enabled this option)

After entering your login details you may be required to provide a one-time access code.

  • A one-time use code is sent by SMS to your mobile phone.

If you do not have a myGov account, you can create one by selecting Create myGov account on the myGov sign-in page.

Sign-in using the MyGov login page

Step 2:

Once you have logged into your account scroll down until you see the heading ‘Your Services’.

Your Services lists the government programs you access that offer online services through myGov. You should see ‘Department of Veteran Affairs’ listed here.

Select ‘Department of Veteran Affairs’.

If you do not see Department of Veteran Affairs listed you will have to link this service to your account (See the video below).

You can do this by selecting Link another service.

Select the DVA tile

Step 3:

This is your Department of Veterans’ Affairs My Service Home Page.

My Service allows you to access DVA services online such as:

  • Access support for a service-related condition or injury
  • Access your digital DVA Veteran Card
  • Lodge and track the status of your claims

Look in the middle column titled Claims.

Select Accepted Conditions.

Select Accepted Conditions from the Claims Menu

Step 4:

This page shows your digital DVA Veteran Card.

You will see information such as your Card NumberExpiryCard Type and the Conditions listed on your card.

Select the Conditions Listed drop-down menu to view the conditions listed on your card.

Step 5:

Select Print this Page in the top right-hand corner of the page to download your digital DVA Card as a PDF.

Alternatively, if accessing this on your mobile phone you can take a screenshot of this page. Depending on your phone you can:

  • Press the Side button and the Volume up button at the same time (iPhone)
  • Press the Power and Volume Down buttons at the same time

 

Video on how to log on and link my service: