The Lumbago Top Ten
[originally published in KCN, March 2006]
Question. What do construction workers and nursing home workers have in common? Delivery drivers and police officers? Auto mechanics and farmers? It’s a real stumper, isn’t it? And while you search your brain for a common denominator for these seemingly dissimilar jobs, let me give you one that’s unlikely to roll off your tongue anytime soon: they all made the American Chiropractic Association’s list of the “Top Ten Back Breaking Jobs.” What’s more, these jobs, along with three others I didn’t mention, share something else in common: they weren’t awarded the number one spot.
So, just what is the number one back breaking job? And, what are the other three that made the list?
I know, the suspense is too much to handle. So, rather than tease you through the entire article, here, in Letterman-style (cue drum roll), are the “Top Ten Back Breaking Jobs” as rated by an informal poll of the American Chiropractic Associations House of Delegates:
# 10) Auto Mechanics
# 9) Nursing Home Workers
# 8) Delivery Drivers
# 7) Firefighters / EMT’s
# 6) Shingle Roofers
# 5) Farmers
# 4) Police Officers
# 3) Landscapers
# 2) Construction Workers
And the #1 Back Breaking Job… Heavy Truck and Tractor-trailer Drivers! (cue music)
Did you make the list? Chances are pretty good that you, or at least know someone you know, did. But, then again, even if you didn’t make the list, chances are you will still get back pain — but without the fanfare.
Statistics tell us that 8 out of 10 adults will get back pain at some point in their lives. At any given time 15-20% of our population is suffering from this debilitating affliction.
The good news is that chiropractic care is very effective at pulling people out of the “back pain pit,” or, perhaps more importantly, equipping their spines to prevent many of these problems from occurring in the first place. And, if by chance, a chiropractic patient encounters an attack of lumbago — they’re much more likely to recover quicker, and with less disability, than their counterparts.
This is why the care that chiropractors deliver has been held in high regard from multiple government back pain treatment guidelines (including, but not limited to, the United States, Canada, Denmark, and Great Britain). And it’s not just the effectiveness of the treatment that earned the status; it also has to do with the absence of the dangerous side effects that the other types of treatment can carry. Furthermore, it has been shown to be very cost effective, and the plethora of high satisfaction ratings that patients continue to report has caught the attention of many.
The ironic thing is, we chiropractors don’t really treat back pain at all— directly, at least. We care about the nerves — or more precisely, what “gets on your nerves.” We simply recognize that the body has an incredible capacity to heal and regulate itself. It is through the nerves of the nervous system, the wiring of our body, that this is primarily orchestrated. The nervous system runs through the spinal column and exits out between the bones (vertebrae) that make it up. Unfortunately, at times our spines are subjected to incredible unhealthy stresses (like “back breaking jobs”) that set up mechanical dysfunction in the spine that “pinch,” “rub,” or “choke” these delicate nerves, and thus, ultimately interfere with our body’s ability to properly function (ie. heal and regulate).
The mainstay of chiropractic treatment is to restore these mechanical dysfunctions by “adjusting” the spine — all so we can make the nerves work better, assisting your body to work as it was designed, which usually translates to your feeling better.
It’s funny, during my conversations with patients recently over the list of “back breaking” jobs, certain jobs (usually their’s) didn’t make the list — but should have. A little recognition amidst the suffering was in order. “You mean to tell me that my job is not on that list of yours,” a patient pleaded. With my head still stuck in our profession’s trade publication, I scanned the list one last time. Then I looked up, smiled, and with a reassuring nod said, “Sure, yours made number 11.”