Back Pain on the Job? Look at What Florida Firefighters Are Doing About It.

Got Low Back Pain?

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders, eighty percent (80%) of adults experience low back pain at some point during life with men and women equally affected. While the majority of back pain is short term (lasting a few days to a few weeks), about 20% of the people affected develop chronic low back pain with symptoms that persist one year or more.

A study performed by the American Chiropractic Association finds back pain to be the most common work related injuries in the United States. This is especially true for Florida’s firefighters with severe back injuries being the leading cause of permanent disability and early retirement. As a result, Tampa Fire Rescue has teamed up with the University of South Florida to assess the effectiveness of a worksite exercise regimen that is geared toward reducing the risk of low back injuries in firefighters. Over the next four months, 300 Florida firefighters will begin standardized exercise programs on the job designed to strengthen back and core muscles. A preliminary study from the American Journal of Health Promotion showed such supervised worksite exercise training targeting back and core muscle endurance in firefighters was safe and appeared to protect against future low back injury and pain.

Could exercise and core strengthening become future standard requirements for other heavy lifting type jobs? For more information about the firefighter study.


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