Firefighters are a uniquely positioned profession in many ways. We all know that they are exposed to many risk factors. But few of us are aware that they tend to have an increased risk of lower back pain. This article will discuss the prevalence, cause and management of lower back pain of these first responders.
A recent study in the March 2019 edition of the International Journal Of Occupational Medicine And Environmental Health looked at lower back pain in members of the profession of firefighting. Surveys completed by 430 firefighters revealed that those exposed to higher levels of occupational stress were 52% more likely to report a musculoskeletal condition, with back pain being the most prevalent complaint.
Causes of lower back pain in this community are from a variety of factors.
Many in firefighting are required to spend long hours in physical training. As a chiropractor, I recently treated an officer of a local fire company who was being trained to rescue victims of a building collapse. He and his fellow trainees had to insert themselves into a small enclosed area of a concrete structure and use a jackhammer to reach a victim in a simulated situation. This exercise placed a significant physical stress on his lower back and the joints of the pelvis.
Other causes of lower back pain are due to the physicality of their everyday job. At times, fire fighters are the first to arrive at a medical emergency and may have to be in a posturally demanding position to administer CPR, resuscitation, stopping blood loss or moving a victim from a hazard. Inevitably, again, physical stress occurs to the lower back.
An overlooked cause of back pain is the equipment that must be worn and carried. Heavy fire protecting uniforms, an oxygen tank and carrying an axe or firehose can be awkward to wear, carry and therefore apply mechanical stress to the lower back.
There are certainly other causes of stress to the lower back but one gets the overall idea with the examples mentioned.
Whatever the cause of the injury and complaint a physical solution and care from a chiropractor can generally be of help to a physical problem. Chiropractors focus on helping patients who have lower back pain. Many back conditions are caused by misalignments and improper movements of the bones of the spine and the pelvis. Chiropractors can assess the firefighter during a physical examination and determine if realignment by the chiropractor performing a chiropractic adjustment will help in the correction of the cause of the lower back pain.
Chiropractors are experts at treating injuries of the lower back. Many firefighting first responders who have developed lower back ailments due to their line of work have been helped by chiropractors. In addition, many see chiropractors on an ongoing basis for maintenance care to avoid experiencing an injury and to enjoy a long healthy career.
Learn more about more about a UPMC chiropractor for back pain. For chiropractic treatment for lower back pain near me see this video.