Police Officers and Back Pain
By Sara Butler
Would you believe that according to the National Institutes of Health, 62 percent of police offers suffer from low back pain? Of those 62 percent, only 8 percent had back pain before beginning their career in law enforcement. Here are some of the special concerns that police officers have when it comes to back pain and how a chiropractor may just be able to help!
Why Police Officers Experience Back Pain
There are many reasons why officers of the law experience back pain at such a staggering rate. These reasons include:
- Sitting for long periods of time – Police officers spend a lot of time sitting in their cruisers – hours sometimes. While police cruisers may look like comfy cars they are not designed for sitting for long periods and it leaves the lower back unsupported. This places a lot of strain on the lower back and can lead to discomfort and pain.
- Standing for long periods – A part of a police officer’s job is endurance, such as standing or running for long periods of time. Whether it’s keeping you safe at events or patrolling a neighborhood on foot, this standing can lead to fatigue and can result in damage to the spine and pain.
- Late nights – A police officer has to work all kinds of hours, and believe it or not, working all night long and not getting enough sleep can have a big impact on spine health, leading to pain.
- Duty Belts – Those large belts the police wear with all their tools of the trade are not light. Combine this with body armor for protection and you’ve got a lot of stress and strain placed on the neck and spine. This is a huge reason police officers can experience so much back pain.
What You Can Do to Arrest Back Pain
If you’re a police officer and you’ve noticed back pain creeping up on you there are several things you can do about it, including:
- Chiropractic care – A chiropractor can help to perform maintenance on your spine, keeping it aligned and helping to head off small problems at the pass before they can become larger problems.
- Exercise – Take 10 minutes and stretch out your back every morning by raising your arms above your head reaching up while pointing your toes down. You can also bring your knees to your chest one at a time as you lay down, holding for five seconds on each side.
Also remember to take frequent breaks when you’re sitting in your cruiser for long periods – at least once an hour. Get up and walk around if you can, stretching lightly to get your blood flowing and your muscles moving. If you have to stand for long periods wear supportive shoes and practice proper posture!
If you have any questions, the chiropractors at The Joint Chiropractic are here to help!