Each year, the rigors of law enforcement cause a significant health and safety issue for officers across the country. In addition to finding themselves in the line of fire, local, county and state police often suffer from orthopaedic injuries and disabling musculoskeletal conditions. A number of work-related factors impact these conditions, including:
- Duty belts: Depending upon required equipment, duty belts can add between 15 and 20 pounds of unbalanced weight to an officer’s body. The stress of this belt can impact gait patterns, as well as placing stress on the low back when officers are seated for long shifts.
- Patrolling: It’s an unfortunate reality that many crime fighters spend long days on patrol, whether on foot, by car or motorcycle. Slouching in patrol cars or standing for long periods can cause and exacerbate back and hip pain, resulting in spinal imbalances, disc degeneration, stiff muscles and sciatic nerve problems.
- Poor eating habits: Late nights, long shifts and constant interruptions often result in undesirable dietary habits. Unfortunately, research has shown a significant connection between poor diet and inflammatory conditions. Diets high in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C and antioxidants and low in refined carbohydrates have been shown to decrease swelling and alleviate pain in some cases.
- Occupational stress: Daily stress may cause law enforcement personnel to use their muscles in ways that lead to future orthopaedic concerns, including back and neck pain.
- Sleep deprivation: Lack of sleep impacts more than the ability to think. Some studies indicate that insomnia increases muscle knots and trigger point irritation. Low back pain or orthopaedic conditions may further disrupt sleep, worsening the problem.
While it is not possible for police and state patrol officers to avoid physical and mental stress, it is important to be cognizant of aches and pains—and take steps to manage them before they become pervasive orthopaedic problems.
Innovative Orthopaedic Treatment Options
Law enforcement personnel suffering from acute or chronic pain, immobility or swelling may benefit from many of the services offered by Robert A. Kayal, MD and his team. Kayal Orthopaedic Center is a regional leader and pioneer in minimally invasive orthopaedic surgery, and each physician takes a progressive, customized approach to patient health. After assessing symptoms, discussing work stress and establishing a diagnosis, Kayal Orthopaedic Center physicians recommend the treatment or procedure that will provide optimal pain relief and expedite return to activity.Common treatment options include, but are not limited to:
- MLS® LASER THERAPY: A painless technique that works at the cellular level, MLS Laser Therapy boosts healing and speeds recovery. The minimally invasive treatment uses laser energy photons to penetrate tissue and spur cellular regeneration. Best of all, over 90 percent of patients experience positive results after just three to four treatments!
- MINIMALLY INVASIVE PROCEDURES: The Kayal Orthopaedic Center team can treat many bone and joint problems using minimally invasive surgery rather than open surgical techniques. Performed using small incisions and a tiny camera, minimally invasive techniques reduce surgical pain, speed rehabilitation and prevent excess scar tissue. This approach is used for many procedures, including ligament & tendon reconstruction, partial & total joint replacement, rotator cuff repairs, spinal disc surgery, and foot & ankle repairs.
- PARTIAL AND TOTAL JOINT REPLACEMENT: When conservative treatments don’t solve a joint problem, joint replacement may be recommended. Most orthopaedic surgeons perform about 20 joint replacements each year, but Dr. Kayal routinely performs more than 200 each year. Kayal Orthopaedic Center is proud to have introduced outpatient joint replacement surgery to the local community, and expertise includes partial & total knee replacement and partial & total hip replacement. When conducted with a minimally invasive approach, these procedures require a much smaller incision than traditional joint replacement.
- PLATELET RICH PLASMA (PRP) THERAPY: PRP is a relatively new procedure that uses a patient’s blood to stimulate tissue repair. The blood is spun in a centrifuge, and blood cells are separated from platelets. The platelets, which contain growth hormones and other nutrients, are injected into damaged joints and used to trigger the body’s healing response. PRP may be used to repair cartilage, nerves, bone, ligaments, muscles or tendon injuries, and Kayal Orthopaedic Center has performed thousands of successful PRP procedures.
- PODIATRIC TREATMENTS: Foot & ankle pain is a frustrating burden for law enforcement personnel. Using industry-leading podiatric techniques, Kayal Orthopaedic Center surgeons help officers stay out of pain and on their feet. Expertise includes radiofrequency coblation for chronic tendon & ligament problems, ankle arthroscopy, viscosupplementation for arthritis, prolotherapy for chronic Achilles tendinosis, and PRP for soft tissue and joint pain.
Maintaining Your Orthopaedic Health
Orthopaedic health is critical to job performance and quality of life. While it is nearly impossible to avoid orthopaedic injury or musculoskeletal strain, Kayal Orthopaedic Center encourages officers to consider the following in an effort to protect bone and joint health:
- When managing a new injury at home, remember to rest, ice, compress and elevate (RICE) for at least 48 hours.
- Avoid “working through the pain” when you are injured. Seemingly small injuries may lead to ongoing, debilitating pain if unaddressed. Kayal Orthopaedic Center is proud to treat all types of acute and chronic orthopaedic pain.
- When possible, consider a lighter-weight alternative to the traditional duty belt. If permitted, consider tactical suspenders to take the load off your back and hips.
- Take care of your back. Perform workouts safely and carefully, and add regular core workouts to your routine. When your core muscles are strong, back injury is less likely.
To learn more about Dr. Kayal and his elite team of orthopaedic surgeons, or to request a consultation to discuss your back pain, musculoskeletal injury or orthopaedic disease, call our Franklin Lakes and Glen Rock offices at 201.560.0711 today. Providing orthopaedic services, minimally invasive procedures and innovative treatments for emergency and first responders, Kayal Orthopaedic is proud to treat New Jersey’s finest—and return them to duty and quality of life.