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Pain is one of the most common reasons patients visit a doctor. For most, pain will resolve within 6 months, but for 50 million people in the United States, pain persists as a chronic health condition. Managing chronic pain can be complicated, and it requires a multi-faceted approach, as each person responds differently to pain and no single treatment is effective for every person. Mike Turkenkopf, a former Sailor, knows the difficulties of managing chronic pain first-hand. His musculoskeletal pain stems from years of participating in air operations, diving, and exposure to blasts and is exacerbated by overuse injuries from working out (and a self-described defiance of rest). Mike manages his chronic pain by knowing his limitations and striving to maintain what mobility, strength, and flexibility he has.

A graduate of The Honor Foundation’s East Coast transition program, Mike works as a Business Development Manager for a Department of Defense distributor. When he’s not working, he spends time outdoors with his wife, daughter, and German shepherd puppy; he also enjoys being on the ocean, whether surfing, paddle boarding, or kayaking. Mike is also a champion for the Navy SEAL Foundation. He specifically admires the position they take on building resilience, both mentally and physically, for the Naval Special Warfare community. He professes that advocating through the Navy SEAL Foundation has a positive effect on him and his family and being behind the curtain of the foundation has given him the ability to help others navigate people and organizations to get the help they need.

In early 2020, Mike learned about the Chronic Pain Management Research Program and recently experienced his first peer review as a consumer. In addition to his own focus on musculoskeletal issues, he also appreciates the wide range and sources of chronic pain addressed by the program (e.g., amputation pain, which some of his friends experience). He noted the program’s commitment to supporting research in best practices for chronic pain management and looks forward to participating in more peer review panels. He also affirmed the constant efforts required for managing chronic pain. “It doesn’t just affect the physical being. Chronic pain touches every part of your life.”

Last updated Thursday, May 26, 2022