Musculoskeletal Injury Rehabilitation Research for Operational Readiness (MIRROR)

Leading Musculoskeletal Injury Care

MIRROR conducts vital research across more than 40 musculoskeletal injury studies within the Military Health System, emphasizing the development of research, education, and training infrastructures. Projects span epidemiological investigations, investigator-initiated pilots, and multisite clinical trials. Focused on both broad musculoskeletal injury care and targeted anatomical interventions, MIRROR drives advancements in clinical practice guidelines and provides educational foundations for both military and civilian health providers.

Areas of Focus

Research Focus 1: Identify Primary and Secondary Musculoskeletal Injury (MSI) Risk Factors Using Novel Screening Tools

Research Focus 2: Investigate MSI Prevention Strategies in Alignment with Total Force Fitness and Human Performance Optimization

Research Focus 3: Develop and Test Novel Diagnostic and Treatment Interventions to Improve Outcomes

Research Focus 4: Implement Evidence-Based Practices Across the Total Force

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MIRROR Research

Project Highlights

A Novel Treatment for Neck Pain in Active-Duty Military Personnel: The Cervigard Neck Collar – this study investigates the Cervigard Neck Collar’s effectiveness in reducing pain and improving function without the drawbacks associated with conventional treatments.

Randomized Control Trial of Combined Cryotherapy with Compression Versus Cryotherapy Alone After Orthopaedic Surgery – assessing the efficacy of combined cryotherapy and compression for postoperative pain management, this trial explores potential reductions in opioid use and expedited recovery in orthopaedic surgery patients.

Low-Back Pain-Related Healthcare Utilization Patterns for Upper and Lower Extremity Amputees – focusing on amputees with low back pain, this study aims to describe their healthcare utilization patterns and calculate the associated costs, offering insights into more targeted and efficient treatment strategies.



Photomedicine Collaboration
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Military Orthopaedics Tracking Injuries and Outcomes Network (MOTION) Support
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MSI affects approximately 800,000 service members annually, resulting in 25 million days of limited duty. These conditions are the primary reasons for medical discharge and downgrade, and result in 34% of medical evacuations from theatre. Most concerning is that the disability discharge rate for MSI has increased 13x between 1981 and 2005 (70 vs. 950 per 100,000 persons), which negatively impacts cost, care, and utilization within the military health system.

Given the strict requirements for physical fitness in the military, and impact of MSI on combat readiness, the Defense Health Agency has supported the creation of MIRROR, which will provide critical infrastructure, operational and research support to advance the treatment and preventive care for service members with non-combat related MSI. Headquartered at the Uniformed Services University, MIRROR will coordinate inter-service partnerships with the primary military treatment facilities, and other sites that experience a high volume of MSI, but lack a robust infrastructure to conduct rigorous clinical studies.

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Our Partners

MIRROR collaborates with over 20 prestigious military treatment facilities and civilian organizations across the United States to promote innovative research and effective care for service members’ MSIs.

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