Firefighters are superheroes, dedicated to saving us from tight corners in horrendous fire incidents. As they perform their superheroes duties, they tend to bend down to either lift an object or pick up an injured person.
Bending their waist in these rescue operations exposes them to back pain (I know they are superheroes but they are humans too). Though they put their lives on the line to save others daily, some of these heroes might just be the ones that need to be rescued.
The lower back pain is a common health condition with firefighters amongst other hazards that they are daily exposed to.
A study on occupational back pain, such as the one experienced by firefighters, found out that one-third of the entire firefighter population complain about lower back pain. This health condition has been reported to be one of the major reasons for early retirement among firefighters.
Most times they have to carry protective gear of more than 50 pounds with heavy fire hoses to prevent fires. Their profession involves a lot of lifting and manoeuvring of stretchers in small spaces.
In addition to this is their need to twist their bodies in mostly unhealthy manners to save accident victims. These are just a few of the situations that make them prone to lower back pain.
As such a large percentage of firefighters suffer from this lower back pain and its dangerous for their health.
If someone who ought to save the next family from a fire outbreak is unhealthy, then the human population is at risk. This is why it’s important to rescue firefighters from lower back pain.
Most firefighters have come to accept that lower back pain is a condition that they have to live with. They see it as one of the sacrifices they have to make to save others. Although this thought might seem noble, it is not supposed to be so.
We have gone to look for various ways to help firefighters live a life devoid of constant back pain. Read on to find out how to rescue firefighters from low back pain.
Firefighter Injury Prevention
Due to the dangerous environment that firefighters are exposed to, injuries sustained threaten their health and put their lives at risk. Most firefighters sustain injuries, both on and off the field that plunges their bodies into traumatic conditions.
An estimated number of 58,260 firefighter injuries occurred only in 2018. This alarming number is because they are prone to fire, back injuries, and musculoskeletal injuries that cause pain. Other situations involve sprains and strains that affect the joints, muscles, and body parts.
Some of the firefighter injury prevention methods include:
- Constant Exercise
Most times, firefighters forget to engage their bodies in exercises that would help keep them healthy. They use their bodies in unconventional ways forgetting that they need to train and exercise their bodies to get the best results from it.
Due to the lack of exercise, they begin to feel pressure and pain in different parts of their bodies which slows them down by rendering them ineffective.
If firefighters could take out the time to exercise their bodies, they would reduce their exposure to strains or sprains. Aerobic fitness or core strength exercises can be used to prevent injuries.
This way your abdominal and back muscles would be conditioned to stabilize your lower back. This injury prevention method has been tested by firefighters and they’ve found it effective.
- Pay Attention To Body Posture
Coupled with the different risks and activities that affect their bodies is a bad body posture. Firefighters have to be conscious about their body posture which would help reduce the pressure that a wrong posture puts on the back.
The pelvic has to be in a neutral position so standing properly would help. Also, in times where they have to stand for long, they should take out time to rest.
Their sitting posture is equally important because they need seats that would offer proper support for their lower back. By paying attention to their body posture, their injuries could be prevented.
- Invest In Good Sleeping Materials
This might look too simple to help such a situation, however, that is not the case. Firefighters get to rest their bodies after a tough day at work by sleeping. This way, they can rejuvenate their bodies and prepare themselves for another day of work.
Good mattresses and pillows need to be bought to help them sleep properly. It has been discovered that sleeping with the right materials could help reduce your chances of having musculoskeletal disorders.
These materials can help you properly align your spine, keep your neck in the right position, and ultimately make you have quality and comfortable sleep. This is just what you need to get through in this line of work.
- A Review Of Harmful Methodology
This one concerns firefighters administrators. The fire department needs to review their methods and techniques. Archaic methods that put firefighters at high risk while working need to be reviewed and scrapped.
Some technologies could reduce certain physical exertion of the human body. The high number of firefighters prone to injuries shows that this is highly needed because the lives of firefighters also matter. Methods that would place a high priority on their lives while still rescuing others need to be put in place.
- Quality Training
The government and the fire department need to invest in quality training for firefighters. They need to be properly trained on how to reduce the risk factors in the field. Although most already have training systems, technology needs to be harnessed to help curtail hazardous situations.
Rescuing others is an honorable thing to do. The society is lucky to have people who are committed to this work. However, updated quality training need to be in place on better self-protective measures for firefighters that would reduce their vulnerability to falls, sprains, or strains that cause injuries.
If they can learn more about this, the number of firefighters that get injured would drastically reduce. This firefighter injury prevention is crucial to the lives of these people.
Chiropractic Care For Firefighters
Firefighters need to be rescued from situations and conditions that threaten their existence. These people need to be preserved for the sake of their families and society as a whole. You can only give to society when you have what to give and as a firefighter, you can only better save people when your safety is guaranteed.
Chiropractic treatment is an alternative medical technique that can help save firefighters and reduce the level of pain they live with. This treatment is concerned with adjusting their bodies to the proper position. The doctors in charge of this process are competent and well-trained in caring for individuals across all occupations.
You might be thinking that Chiropractic care deals with just popping your spinal joints and that it would be of no help to your situation. However, some firefighters already have testimonies about the effective process that makes your body feel brand new. This technique would help eliminate your back pain and correct your body posture thus reducing your chances of a back injury.
Some proven chiropractic care for firefighters include:
- Manual Chiropractic Adjustments
Chiropractic care is concerned with making sure your body is properly positioned, that way it reduces the chances of sprains and strains. The manual adjustments are done with the Chiropractic doctor’s hands and in some cases, a specific adjusting tool is utilized to achieve the same positive results. Before anything is done, your posture is carefully studied to determine the areas where adjustments are needed.
- Therapeutic Exercises
This technique is one of the best for firefighters because Chiropractors give them advice on the type of exercises their body needs. Because of the complexity of their work, their bodies need certain routine exercises.
Chiropractic care takes it a step further by introducing suitable exercises that would keep their body in form and help their lower backs. Above all, Chiropractic doctors study their form while exercising so that they would be able to repeat the process on their own.
- Spinal Decompression Therapy
Spinal decompression therapy is a treatment method that works perfectly well for lower back pain. This is a type of therapy that helps in pain relief and provides an optimum healing environment for herniated discs, degenerating spinal joints, or disc bulging.
It helps in decompressing the disc and creates an influx of healing nutrients on the back. Firefighters need this technique both as a preventive and corrective measure.
- Biophysics Adjustment
Chiropractic biophysics adjustment uses both manual and instrument to correct the body posture. As a result of the heavy load that firefighters have to carry around, they need this type of adjustment for their bodies.
This technique is used to determine if the spine is in the right range according to the body’s makeup. X-rays are used to determine the posture and then treatment takes place after.
Chiropractic care for firefighters helps in treating lumbar disk extrusion, spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, sciatica, herniated discs, and other back-related illnesses. This system saves you from depending on drugs and also from surgical procedures.
You can have your lower back pain treated with the most risk-free technique to achieve a higher level of peak performance in the human rescuing arena.
Health And Wellness For Firefighters
The general health and wellness of a firefighter are important to society and their families. This is why most departments engage in wellness programs that are meant to keep them healthy.
It was put in place to help firefighters increase their productivity level, morale, and reduce money spent on healthcare. The health and wellness for firefighters have to be highly prioritized especially in their departments.
Here are a few tips on how firefighters can improve their health and wellness.
- Eat A Balanced Diet
One of the first things that need to be carefully examined is their nutrition. Firefighters need to eat balanced diets to avoid obesity or being underweight. With this profession, it is easy to neglect your health because of how engaging and time consuming it is.
However, when you do not eat food that would nourish your body and compliment your physical fitness, you are putting yourself in danger. You make yourself prone to cardiovascular problems when you don’t take care of yourself.
You should avoid fatty and oily foods that are harmful to your health. They do no good because they later create problems for your heart and some even clog your respiratory system. As our hero, we need you hale and hearty to help save the world.
- Avoid Smoking
Smoking among firefighters should be greatly discouraged. However, tobacco usage has increased by a ton. The reason smoking should be avoided is to reduce their chances of hypertension and heart disease.
Although the smokeless tobacco looks like a better option, it is not. This substance still puts a firefighter at a high level of risk for heart disease and cancer. If you want to live a healthy life, then stay far away from smoking and tobacco.
How would firefighters reduce stress if they stop smoking? As a result of the work that they do, they need ways to relieve themselves of stress and smoking seems like a way out. However, there are ways to manage the stress that would not put your health at risk.
- Take Deep Breathing Exercises
As simple as deep breathing exercises might seem, it’s effect goes a long way. To manage both acute and chronic stress, firefighters can engage in breathing exercises that would help them. This exercise allows you to relax your nerves even in the most precarious situations.
Apart from helping you relax, breathing exercises allow you to clear up your mind and think properly. This is a habit that firefighters need to inculcate in order to increase their level of productivity and results.
Even in the most dangerous situations, if you can critically analyse the situation you are in, you would increase your chances of saving the day.
- Spend Time With Your Loved Ones
Spending time with your loved ones is a balm to your heart. As a firefighter, learn to take out time to spend with your family even during your busy schedule. This act would help your body to relax and receive comfort from those who care deeply about you.
Also, being around your loved one increases your dopamine levels and it makes you happy. After spending so much time in a hazardous environment, depression could set in. This is why your loved ones are there to remind you that there is still a lot to be happy about.
If you can successfully implement these few tips on how to improve health and wellness for firefighters, your entire body would thank you for it.
Top 5 Core Exercises To Prevent Low Back pain
The core is important in stabilizing the low back from all the strains and injuries that cause pain. This is why exercising the core is a great save and a step from a life of constant pain. They help in protecting your back from injuries in the future and it helps you whenever you want to bend over or twist.
We have seen in this article that exercises are important for firefighters, however, we are taking our rescue mission a step further by providing the top 5 core exercises to prevent low back pain.
1. The Bird Dog
This is done in the crawling position by slowly drawing your leg and opposite arm up. Make sure that your arm and leg are fully outstretched and straight.
Do this for a minimum of 5 seconds, then move to the second leg and opposite arm. Remember to draw in your stomach and keep your back as flat as possible. It engages your glutes, core, and back muscles.
To do the bird dog core exercise, you do not need any standard equipment. All you need is a bed, a mat, or the floor that has enough space where you can fully stretch out your body form.
Also, it would help you to straighten out your posture, get your glutes working, and stabilize the lower back muscles for everyday use. This exercise helps in increasing your flexibility and core stability.
2. Kick Backs
Kickbacks are done by most athletes because of the impact it has on the proper functioning of the glutes. Your glutes help in keeping you upright by not overworking your lower back and kick backs exercises them for you. However, you don’t want your hip to sag so make sure not to over kick.
This exercise is also done in a crawling position. Make sure your spine aligns properly when you start “kicking like a horse”. The sole of your feet has to be facing upwards, then contract your glute muscles by holding it for about 2 seconds.
Return your knee to the floor and then go through the same process for the second knee. Do about 12-20 times repeatedly on each side.
3. Prone Back Extension
Do you know how people lie down flat on the floor when they are about to get arrested? Well, that is the kind of position you take doing this core exercise, you even have to put your hands behind your back like you are about to get your hands cuffed. After that, you gently push up your chest off the floor. However, you shouldn’t push your head too high.
It is also known as the superman position however, it helps in contracting your upper and lower back. The prone back extension helps you gain momentum but that is if it is done without flicking the head. It helps you to exercise your back, prevent back pain while still keeping your spine completely aligned.
4. Reverse Crunch Abdominal Curls
You take the back sleeping position when doing this exercise. Make sure that both of your hands are on your sides, then raise your knees to your chest in a calculative manner.
Flatten your back on the floor and let your weight rest totally on it. Going through with this exercise engages your lower back directly and helps in preventing pain in the area.
This is best for those who do a lot of standing all day long. It stabilizes your lumbar spine by strengthening your core and reducing your chances of a back injury. You need to do about 15-20 repetitions of this exercise and try to do up to 3 sets.
5. Dead Bugs
You also lie on your back when doing this exercise and it is sometimes seen as the opposite of bird dogs. Bring your opposite arm to your opposite leg, repeat on each side, then do up to 10 repetitions on each side. It helps you in engaging your core.
Dead bugs help in stabilizing your spine, core, and muscle in a safe and highly effective way. It also strengthens your lumbar spine by reducing your chances of getting injured in the future.
Your shoulder joint and your hip joints are made more flexible by engaging in these movements that involve your hands. This exercise is great for stretching out the entire body and loosening up the body muscles.
The importance of exercises, therapies, and care to the human body goes beyond the physical. These activities not only help in stabilizing the body but also in putting the mind in the right position.
Various ways in which a healthy, worthwhile, and fulfilled life has been discovered and you would only be short changing yourself if you do not apply them to your own life.
Being a firefighter is one of the coolest jobs on planet earth because you get to save people, safeguard society, and give back to humanity. However, some hazards can be avoided to have a long term service in the fire department and avoid spending heavily on healthcare.
If you’ve gone through the laid down process in this post then you would discover that your occupation can be a lot easier and risk-free. All you need to do is get your body and your mind properly aligned so you can save the world again and again from other fire hazards that threaten lives.
You can be a firefighter and not have to go around with pain if you perform the core exercises, get a trip to a chiropractor, and stay away from things that are harmful to your health.
We hope we’ve been able to rescue you from your health hazard so that you can continue to stay dedicated in saving lives and be the best SuperHero that you were meant to be.