Careers that benefit from regular chiropractic care, PART 4: Professional drivers

Regular chiropractic care and professional drivers

Careers that benefit from regular chiropractic care part 4: Professional drivers
In my last blog in this series I talked about our emergency personnel benefitting from regular chiropractic care.
In this issue I will discuss another group of workers who benefit from regular chiropractic care.

This group are our professional drivers, transit employees be they bus drivers, train engineers and subway and streetcar operators, truck drivers, taxi drivers and couriers. These drivers spend their working day behind the wheel of large vehicles responsible for the safety of many passengers and expensive cargo.
These drivers have a number of risk factors for developing back and neck pain in common; constant vibration from the road or rail, prolonged postural stresses leading to postural muscle fatigue, jarring forces from the road or rails and the constant stresses of driving.

Let’s take truck drivers for example, long haul truck drivers can often be driving for 14 hours at a stretch. While they are often using a specialized seat that aims to limit road forces to them, they are only so effective, the truck’s suspension is primarily there to support the load in the trailer, not the driver. As such much of the vibration is transmitted to the driver. The constant vibration of driving has been identified as a risk factor for back pain and the development of osteoarthritis in the spine.
The next group of drivers then should not be a surprise then, bus drivers more so public transit than luxury coach drivers I’m thinking of here, although coach drivers will still be at risk. Public mass transit buses are not built for comfort, most of us who have taken a public bus can attest to the rough ride. The drivers don’t fare much better, they often to have an air suspended seat, but these are not one size fits all and since the bus is operated by many drivers over a week they often will end up with back pain due to the poor designs and often age of the equipment.

Train operators be they subway operators don’t have specialized seats, however they don’t get as many jarring surfaces, subway operators will however have vibration and the jerky motion of the train can often produce back and neck pain. Commuter train operators have a specialized seat however they often are at risk of lateral sway of the vehicle causing a “side-lash” or side whiplash do to the often violent lateral movement of the train.

I often see these drivers regularly as a preventative measure and often as the result of a work-place injury to the neck or back. Regular chiropractic care can limit the negative effects of constant stress, muscle tightness, vibratory and jarring impacts to the spinal joints due to prolonged periods of sitting and muscular fatigue.
If you know of a professional driver who could benefit from my care please don’t hesitate to have them contact me.
For my other blogs in this series or other topics visit here

Novel treatments for osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis treatment

Most of you know someone with osteoarthritis, or may have it yourself; it is a very common form of joint disease that is related to aging and wear and tear of joint surfaces. This can occur in any joint but commonly occurs in the load bearing joints, the hips, knees and spine. Our joints have a super smooth layer of cartilage as its surface which allows the bones to move easily on one another, synovial joint fluid aids in this movement providing lubrication and nourishing the cartilage. As we age the cartilage producing cells lose their ability to keep up with repair processes and the joint begins to wear down, cracks and fissures can occur in the cartilage and the joint may become painful.

Recently treatments have been developed to improve this situation. First we had the development of artificial joint fluid to help with the lubrication of the joint, to mixed success.

Next we had, PRP or platelet rich plasma, here the clinician removes some of your blood, spins it in a centrifuge to remove the red/white cells and increase the concentration of platelets in the plasma. Platelets are special blood components that help with clotting the blood after a cut but also have special proteins that can help repair tissues. There have been some positive results for tendon type injuries; famously Tiger Woods had this procedure done. More recently it has been tried for osteoarthritis of the knees primarily providing some relief of pain, no small thing for anyone suffering from knee osteoarthritis, but not the big prize, regeneration of the cartilage.

A newer treatment, uses stem cells, these cells are master type cells that can convert to certain cell types, i.e. in this case cells that produce cartilage. These cells are harvested typically from your iliac crest, the bones that you put a belt around. These cells are then injected into the knee in several studies have shown to have regenerated the cartilage, improved pain and function.

These newer treatments are still somewhat experimental, not covered by provincial health plans or employer health plans and range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. The future looks promising for these newer treatments and perhaps a “cure” for osteoarthritis is around the corner. In the mean -time, maintain a good body-weight, exercise, and visit your chiropractor to keep the joints moving well.

For more information on other topics see here