When you dream of a career in childhood, you don’t necessarily think of the toll it could take on your body. For some, the job can lead to pain.
Dr. Troy Yeomans of Phoenix Integrated Medical Center in Winter Park understands the strength that’s required of first responders in the fire service, law enforcement and emergency medical services fields. Following years of research on integrative methods, he helps patients deal with the effects of physical stress on their bodies, specifically the joints of the lower back.
“If these joints aren’t moving or positioned correctly, it can set you up for increased wear and tear (arthritis) or traumatic injury, such as disc herniation,” he says.
For local police officer, Scott Smith, and firefighter, Pat Kelly, the physical demands and safety gear their jobs require can put their bodies under an immense amount of stress. Back, shoulder and neck pain is common in these fields due to increased pressure on the spine and surrounding muscles.
Smith’s 28-year law enforcement career has included 24 years on the SWAT team in Orlando. Law enforcement officers generally carry approximately 20-25 pounds of weight between their belt, safety vest and other necessities, while SWAT officers carry an additional 25-30 pounds of gear, throughout a 12-hour shift that could include a range of physical responsibilities. For Smith, neck and shoulder pain was the result.
“Dr. Yeomans was very familiar and had other patients in the same career, so he understood the uniform that we wear,” Smith says. “He’s always been understanding and full of ideas to keep me at work.”
The weight of Kelly’s gear also took a toll through the years. Combined with constant movement, heavy lifting and going from a full sleep to full speed in a matter of seconds, he began to experience pain in his neck and shoulder. With a nagging injury and a herniated disc, Kelly was trying to avoid pain medication but was at the end of his rope when Dr. Yeomans recommended Class IV Laser Therapy.
“He not only knows the benefits of what he can provide, but he also knows the limitations,” Kelly says of his experience. “He’s fully invested in the result.”
A variety of regenerative medicine treatments can help heal patients who are experiencing job-related pain. Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP) uses the patient’s healing properties from their own blood to start the body’s inflammatory process over again to heal the area better the second time than it did the first. Similarly, Class IV Laser Therapy stimulates the tissues in an affected area at the cellular level to speed up the healing process.
Dr. Yeomans believes you shouldn’t have to live with pain on a daily basis. Whether your career is causing increased stress on your joints or you’re feeling the effects of aging, there are many options for living a pain-free life.