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  • Back problems with Officers

    While I lurk through the countless pages of O.com I come across many things I have questions to. Typically the search function is my best friend. This time it (or my dumb tapatalk app) has failed me. Anyways as I was reading posts on Duty belts and the weight they add to the lower back. Which prompted me to dig deeper. Eventually I looked into equipment that will help alleviate this growing problem in LE. I came across undershirt suspenders by http://www.backdefensesystems.com

    Is this something you as officers are gravitating towards or how do you deal with the excess weight and bulk on your waist?

    I also thought it must be worse to work a 12hr shift instead of an 8 like my local PD does due to the extra 4hrs that they have per day straining their back.

  • #2
    Instead of spending too much money, I moved things off my back on my duty belt, purchased an Ergotek duty rig, and try my best not to slouch or hunch over throughout the day. If it gets too bad, I have an Uncle Mike's exterior suspender system I can throw on.
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    • #3
      It is a chronic problem that really is just being addressed by administrators. There is still a lot of "mindset" out there that suspenders (visible) don't look "professional" and are not allowed either by policy or by "peer pressure"

      Then of course it might look "militarized" and we don't want to offend the masses

      The system you have linked is expensive, but works well from what I have heard-------------I have considered buying one, but I actually don't work in full uniform enough to justify the price right now
      Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

      My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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      • #4
        Many officers' back issues can be resolved with yoga or some other core strengthening and flexibility training. There are some with chronic issues that simply can't tolerate the extra weight, but usually the extra weight is part of the officer, not part of the equipment, and the back and hip muscles lack flexibility due to lack of stretching and long hours seated.

        For most of us, treating the underlying issues is better than buying equipment to mask them.
        I miss you, Dave.
        http://www.odmp.org/officer/20669-of...david-s.-moore

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        • #5
          After 5 years back problems are presumptive duty related here.
          Today's Quote:

          "The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."
          Albert Einstein

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          • #6
            Originally posted by CruiserClass View Post
            For most of us, treating the underlying issues is better than buying equipment to mask them.
            I disagree with the assessment that the back defense system is masking anything. Because I feel like typing a bit this morning, I am going to go back into some history.

            In medieval history, we can see the advancement of armor from simple leather (600 a.d.), to chain ( up to about 1300 a.d.) to plate armour ( 1300 a.d. until 1800 a.d.). Plate armour of the day was a different metal composition than today's metal, and weight was a bit different. However we know from multiple sources that medieval warriors used an item called a pourpoint. A pourpoint was a linen "vest" or sometimes "coat" that had strands for attaching the upper portion of leg armour. The other option was attaching the leg armour to a belt, which caused similar discomfort as our current duty belts, as the weight of the leg armour pulled down on the waist. The pourpoint transfers the weight of the armour from the waist to the top of the shoulders, much the same way as a set of suspenders would do today. The purpose was to direct the weight downward from the top of the spine, the way man was meant to carry weight. Our current idea that the duty belt should have all of this weight and we wear it around our waist is not the way the body was meant to carry weight. Instead of the weight transfer being pushed from top to bottom in a vertical line down the spine, we pull the weight from the bottom of the spine. Then the rest of the armour would sit on top of the shoulders as well, and some would even attach to the legs, presenting a mass of weight that transferred from the shoulders down the spine directly to the ground. Now some people believe that because it was "back then", that it couldn't possibly be "the right way to do it". But I argue this -- When a warrior wore his armour, his life depended on being able to move well and fight. They were not wearing it for kicks, they were warriors. So they had a vested interest in their gear working for them and not against them.

            As an owner of a replica set of armour that I used to actually fight in, I can tell you this. My suit first attached the weight of the legs to a belt around my waist, and I always had back pain. When I decided to invest in a good pourpoint, it was like night and day. It truly worked to eliminate weight related lower back pain from the armour.

            So while you say that the suspenders masks the problem, I contend they address a problem that was already solved hundreds of years ago, and seemingly forgotten.

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            • #7
              Have had back problems all of my career. Had Microdisectomy in June for the L4/L5. Will be using a back defender from now on because I can no longer take the weight bearing on my hips, it messes up my lower back to much. Granted, its a system wide problem in public safety, like what some others have said, Yoga, other core strengthening exercises as well as proper nutrition all play into it.
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              • #8
                I'd wear the back defender if there was a way to continue using shirt-stays with it. I can only imagine how my back will feel in 28 years when it's time to retire. It already hurts all the time.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by AppState View Post
                  I'd wear the back defender if there was a way to continue using shirt-stays with it. I can only imagine how my back will feel in 28 years when it's time to retire. It already hurts all the time.
                  I guess what is more important?----------------- a pretty look with the shirt stays or less pain
                  Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

                  My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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                  • #10
                    Suspenders can make a huge difference if you're allowed to wear them. Quite a few agencies are going to the external vest carriers such as Blauer Armorskin. Blauer offers suspenders to go under their carry system and it's been night & day since I have a basketweave leather belt. Bianchi also makes accumold, which looks like basketweave leather, but it's actually nylon. I'm in plain clothes now so I loaned a coworker the suspender system. He said it's the first time his back hasn't hurt in years.
                    I'm 10-8 like a shark in a sea of crime..

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                    • #11
                      If I ever go back to uniform, I will need suspenders. At age 48, it appears my rear end is slowly "changing"- sort of disappearing. Pants tend to pull down, un-tucking my shirts. I'm constantly pulling my gun/holster rig up and re-adjusting, looking like Barney Fyffe !
                      A bit off topic, but have any of you ever try those grippy inside the waist "belt" things made to hold your shirt in your pants?
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                      • #12
                        Even with great exercise strengthening the core would you still not want a suspender system?

                        Seems to me that even if you follow proper procedures (posture) and training (exercise) the duty belt is poorly designed in regards to ergonomics. Having suspenders like I linked plus having correct posture and training can only aid in a healthy back.

                        I understand the need for addressing weight problems, but would the suspenders really hurt a perfectly healthy and fit adult?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jtay View Post
                          Duty belts and the weight they add to the lower back.
                          Duty belts don't add weight to the lower back, they add weight to the pelvis. Shoulder straps do load the spine. Why do we feel better with the shoulder straps? I think it has to do with range of motion. When we don't need friction to hold the duty belt in place, we wear it looser, allowing the spine to bend naturally.

                          Read "Back Pain in a Large Canadian Police Force" for some perspective on back pain as an occupational hazard.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Shush View Post
                            I disagree with the assessment that the back defense system is masking anything. Because I feel like typing a bit this morning, I am going to go back into some history.

                            In medieval history, we can see the advancement of armor from simple leather (600 a.d.), to chain ( up to about 1300 a.d.) to plate armour ( 1300 a.d. until 1800 a.d.). Plate armour of the day was a different metal composition than today's metal, and weight was a bit different. However we know from multiple sources that medieval warriors used an item called a pourpoint. A pourpoint was a linen "vest" or sometimes "coat" that had strands for attaching the upper portion of leg armour. The other option was attaching the leg armour to a belt, which caused similar discomfort as our current duty belts, as the weight of the leg armour pulled down on the waist. The pourpoint transfers the weight of the armour from the waist to the top of the shoulders, much the same way as a set of suspenders would do today. The purpose was to direct the weight downward from the top of the spine, the way man was meant to carry weight. Our current idea that the duty belt should have all of this weight and we wear it around our waist is not the way the body was meant to carry weight. Instead of the weight transfer being pushed from top to bottom in a vertical line down the spine, we pull the weight from the bottom of the spine. Then the rest of the armour would sit on top of the shoulders as well, and some would even attach to the legs, presenting a mass of weight that transferred from the shoulders down the spine directly to the ground. Now some people believe that because it was "back then", that it couldn't possibly be "the right way to do it". But I argue this -- When a warrior wore his armour, his life depended on being able to move well and fight. They were not wearing it for kicks, they were warriors. So they had a vested interest in their gear working for them and not against them.

                            As an owner of a replica set of armour that I used to actually fight in, I can tell you this. My suit first attached the weight of the legs to a belt around my waist, and I always had back pain. When I decided to invest in a good pourpoint, it was like night and day. It truly worked to eliminate weight related lower back pain from the armour.

                            So while you say that the suspenders masks the problem, I contend they address a problem that was already solved hundreds of years ago, and seemingly forgotten.
                            That's like comparing a fanny pack to a ruck sack. Obviously you can carry more weight with your shoulders, but we aren't talking about metal armor here. A healthy adult can strengthen the core enough to accept the weight of a duty belt without pain. Obviously there's a weight point where that's no longer true, but a duty belt doesn't cross it. If you have back injuries or the like, that may change as you're no longer healthy enough to support sufficient core strength. However I stand by my assessment that for most officers, they are simply masking a weak and stiff core.
                            I miss you, Dave.
                            http://www.odmp.org/officer/20669-of...david-s.-moore

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Always seems odd to me that back pain threads are met with "well you're not in good enough shape" responses. I know I'm in good if not great shape. I'm young. And I haven't been doing this overly long. I can still feel pain in my lower back from work. The issue is administrations determined to hold on to a certain look in the face of functionality.

                              Originally posted by Iowa #1603 View Post
                              I guess what is more important?----------------- a pretty look with the shirt stays or less pain
                              For me? Absolutely my functionality. Unfortunately, the way I'm built leads to shirts that without stays would look like an absolute bag of *** the first time I climbed out of my car, and it would never fly here.(And honestly, while I'm not "parade shined boots" anal about it, it would bother me too)

                              For now, I've started trying to change up my lifts and workout routines to see if something like that helps. There are plenty of guys out there with it way worse than me, so I suck it up and use it as an excuse to get back rubs from willing donators

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