Posted on: 11 April 2017
This isn't about the downtime by deployments or trivializing the worst firefights in modern conflict, but have you been sleeping well? Military service members rotating from combat, shore duty, mechanical work, intense training, and R&R (rest and relaxation) go through a lot of uncomfortable changes because they have to, but there's no rule saying you can't fix it. Especially if you're out of the military now, it's time to do some maintenance on your joints, diet, and especially the way you breathe. If you've been snoring or having trouble breathing, don't write it off as getting older; here are a few ways that military service could be connected and what could be at stake.
Sleeping Arrangements Suck
Until you get a really nice set of orders in a peaceful area where you can move out in town or get enough rank to have nice, on-base housing, your sleeping arrangements are probably less than desirable. Young veterans can deal with the strange sleeping patterns and positions, but as you age, the damage begins to show.
Sleeping on bedrolls, in racks with bad pillows, or any uneven surfaces can lead to just as many posture and breathing problems as office workers—another underestimated group that can have severe health risks from doing seemingly nothing to their body, but in a damaging way.
Your posture could be leading to snoring. Although there are many possible causes of snoring, such as inflammation or excessive mucous buildup, the way you slept in many different parts of your military career could be the cause. If you're recently out of the military or just about to get out, make sure to speak with a non-military ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist to get some evidence for a Veterans Affairs disability claim.
Wait, What? Disability? Civilian Care?
After leaving the military, veterans are eligible for a specific type of compensation. The term disability can be a bit deceptive because of the more well-known Social Security Administration's disability program that temporarily supports people who can't work because of their injuries, but the Veterans Affairs (VA) disability system isn't related.
VA disability is about compensating you for what you lost due to military service. No one said that you had to get beat up, mangled, and generally deteriorated by service for nothing; as long as you put in a timely claim and have proof that the condition is related to military service, you can get monetary compensation from the VA depending on the severity and medical treatment from the VA.
But why go to a civilian medical professional?
You can go to a VA hospital or clinic by all means. It's free, but there are long wait times and some cursory exams to check your condition may not give you all of the information you need. VA disability claims and appeals are denied fairly often, so you'll want to make sure that your claim is packed with helpful information.
The best thing for your claim is to get multiple sources of information. An ENT specialist can examine your condition on your time, and will likely have less incentive to rush through the process when compared to some of the systematic problems at many VA healthcare facilities.
Contact an ENT specialist if you need help getting more evidence. If you're already service-connected for a snoring or sleep apnea problem, the ENT specialist can help you arrange snoring surgery with paid referral by the VA.Share