I am a Police Officer in Northern California and recently purchased The Back Defender to use on patrol. I have an injury to my right hip and have felt pain for sometime. I would have to take prescription medication twice a night while on patrol to control the pain. I recently started feeling numbness in my right thigh. Getting in and out of my vehicle was painful, that was until I started using The Back Defender. What a difference it has made. I do not take pain medication while at work, no more numbness in the leg, and my duty belt is more comfortable than ever. I told my father who is a retired San Jose Police Officer how excited I was about The Back Defender because it will save my career from needless injury from my duty belt. My father said something that made me think. He has had back surgery and still suffers from injuries related to his duty belt. He said he wished The Back Defender was around 27 years ago. My father said he will live with pain for the rest of his life. Good ol’ Pops said The Back Defender may do more than save my career from needless pain. It may save me a whole lifetime of pain.
This device is great! I can’t say enough about it. It feels great to have the pressure off my hips! It can be a little cumbersome to put it on everyday, but I definitely won’t be wearing my gun belt w/o it. I can deal w/the extra time it takes to get dress in order to save my back and hips. Just like I won’t go out on the streets w/o my gun, the same goes for “The Back Defender”!
The system I am test wearing for is excellent. I think the system would be an asset to every Police Officer in any stage of their career. I’ve been an Officer for seventeen years and like most gained weight after the academy. Before the system and after an eight hour shift my knees and lower back would ache. Now I work four teens and with this system I have no trouble with my lower back or knees. The only negative thing I can say about the system is the keeper stays that go behind the waistband of the pants sometimes rubes against my hips, small price to pay for comfort through the day. Thank you for the opportunity to test your system…It works. I’ve noticed that my back feels much better at the end of the day. I’ve also noticed that I don’t have to shift my belt throughout the day. My back feels much better throughout the day.
So far it has taken a great strain off my back. My back doesn’t hurt near as much at the end of the day. It was a little hard at first to get on and off but I am getting the hang of it now.
The Back Defender did not work for me, because of the way my department makes us configure our duty belts I could not find a comfortable place to put the down member that did not put pressure on my hips.
So far so good. Still trying to get used to my belt not being tight. I know my hips don’t hurt as much as they used to at the end of shift.
After having worn the harness for over 4 months I have found the following: it is light weight, the support it provides is balanced and distributes the weight evenly across my chest/back/shoulders, my duty belt feels more secure around my waist and I don’t feel the need to constantly adjust my belt while entering/exiting the patrol car, and finally my shirt stays tucked neatly in my waistband all shift and the adjustability of the new harness is perfect. I definitely feel the harness should be worn on the outside of the vest not under the vest. Now I have found these items take time to get used to: putting on my vest/harness/shirt (in that order) then tucking everything into my waistband while making sure the keepers go under the inner duty belt, having to take my shirt/harness off when using the commode, getting adjusted to the keeper supports that go inside the uniform pants. Having spent over 15 years in the field as a patrol officer and enduring the pain/discomfort that has come along with the duty belt I truly appreciate the harness and what it has done for my lower back pain. I now have little if any discomfort and my agility (ability to climb fences/enter windows/entering and exiting the patrol car) in the field has increased. Thank you for your time and effort in developing this product.
After our conversation on the phone, I was compelled to write this testimonial.
In November of 2008, I suffered an injury that left me lying on the floor of my living room immobile. Through my tears (not necessarily from pain, but from fear) I laughed at my 3 year old daughter as she ran her fingers through my hair and in her sweetest voice told me, “I love you, Daddy. Please don’t die.” I knew I wasn’t going to die, but the fear of what was going to happen next was pretty overwhelming. I was only 32 years old, I have a wife and three kids, and I was worried about supporting them if this injury was permanent
After being pumped full of pain medication and after a ride to the hospital on a stretcher via ambulance, I was told that I had torn my L5-S1 annulus. My doctor explained to me that an annulus is the tendon-like material that surrounds each disc that separate one’s vertebrae. The doctor said that I was lucky because the tear was small enough that none of the jelly-like material in the center of the disc had leaked out.
There wasn’t specific incident that caused this injury, rather I believe it was a combination of many things. Heredity played a part as I am built exactly the same as my father (a retired 30 year police officer) who has had a lifetime of lower back problems. A lifetime of back abuse (I played two varsity sports in college and 3 varsity sports in high school) was also a culprit for my degenerating back. Furthermore, having worked as a police officer for nearly 10 years, I had worn a duty-belt during most of that time as a third shift patrol officer. Anybody who has worked as an officer knows the toll wearing a duty-belt takes on one’s back.
I was off of work for a month and a half, but when I returned to duty in January of 2009 I was prepared. During my time off I researched suspenders, harnesses, and several items that were designed to lessen the load of an officer’s duty-belt. When I first saw The Back Defender, I have to admit, I was a little bit frightened by the $180 price tag. I also was a skeptic because after watching the video I thought The Back Defender was too complicated and would be too much of a hassle to put on every shift. But I decided to take a chance on The Back Defender.
Having worn The Back Defender for a full year now, I couldn’t imagine going to work without it. I’d feel naked if I didn’t have it on, as The Back Defender is as much of a part of my duty gear as is my .40 caliber Beretta and the silver badge I wear on my shirt.
Regarding the $180 price tag, I look at it this way. I receive a uniform allowance of approximately $600 per year. The cost of 1-2 shirts and one pair of pants is about the same as The Back Defender. I’ve gone 2-3 years before without buying a new shirt or a new pair of duty pants, so it was a pretty small sacrifice (1-2 less shirts and 1 less pair of pants) to purchase such a valuable tool.
I’d also like to address my second concern I had with The Back Defender; it looked too complicated to use. I’ll have to admit, the first night I put it on I questioned whether or not I’d made a good decision. It took 15-20 minutes to get it on (with the help of my wife), and even then, it didn’t quite feel right. I tinkered with it the next few weeks, and eventually, after about a month, it took me less that 3 minutes to put it on. And after that same month’s time, I discovered that if I didn’t have The Back Defender on, my uniform felt incomplete (I had that “naked” feeling). For me, there was a “break-in” period before I felt fully comfortable wearing The Back-Defender. But now, I can’t believe that I actually used to wear my duty-belt without The Back Defender.
So one could imagine my dismay when about 1 month ago (November of 2009), two of the rivets on one of the down straps popped. The device still functioned, but I could feel it slipping slightly where the rivets had pulled through. I was afraid to send it back for an exchange or to have it repaired, because I did not want to go to work without it while the repairs were being made.
I called Robin Putman of Back Defense Systems, and to say he was very accommodating would be an extreme understatement. Robin immediately apologized for the device’s malfunction, and he told me he would send me a new Back Defender the next day. I was afraid that he would ask me to send the broken one back first, but he told me to keep wearing it until I received the new replacement one. Robin then asked that once I received the new one, I send him the old Back Defender so he could study it in an attempt to improve the device and to prevent similar problems in the future.
I highly recommend The Back Defender to all patrol officers who wear a duty belt. As a field training officer, I now recommend to each new officer that they consider getting The Back Defender while they are beginning their careers, as opposed to waiting until they’re lying on their living room floor, motionless, waiting for the ambulance to arrive.
Dustin F. S
I thought I would send you a email about my experience with the system I purchased a little over 2 months ago. I wanted to wait until I wore it numerous times before I sent this email about the system. I just want you to know that I wish I would have had this system many years ago. I am a 23 year veteran of law enforcement agency here in Minnesota and my back and lower hips hurt all the time. I would be constantly readjusting my duty belt when I got out of the car or standing in one spot for a while. With this system after 10 hour shifts my lower back does not hurt nor are my hips sore. I have worked several events over past 2 months that I would have to stand for 4 hours in one spot and again my back was fine and I never had to readjust the belt because it was uncomfortable. This system is great. I would not go to work without it now. I am also a use of force/ firearms instructor for our agency and over last week we were out on the range for 2 10 hour days and in the past I would be sore for days after these range days but wearing the Back Defender I was just fine. I made it through the day without any pain or fatigue. When on range I wore it on the outside of my range shirt to show all other deputies how the system works and the benefit of having one. Most were impressed and I believe a few will be ordering one in the near future.
As for putting it on I found it easier to put my uniform shirt on first tucking it in system then putting on uniform pants without inner belt tucking system into pants then threading the inner belt through belt loops of pants and snaps of the system. Then I put my duty belt on. This seems to work easier for me then doing the way the instructions say. It has cut my dressing time down to way it was when I did not have the system.
One other thing I thing you would be able to sell a lot of these systems if you could get a dealer up here to sell them. One thing I have found out about Law enforcement officers is if they can not see and feel the product they have a hard time buying it especially when it cost what they feel is a lot of money. Most of our deputies and other Law enforcement officers uses Streicher’s Police equipment out of Minneapolis Minnesota. I will keep promoting your product to officers here because I believe that this will save our backs so when we finally are able to retire we will be able to enjoy rest of our life without back pain. If you have any question just let me know.
My name is Dr. Kevin J. Rupert. I am 36 years old and have been a patrol officer for the Arlington police department for 2 years now. Throughout my life I have tried to stay physically active. I played sports in high-school and served 4 years in the U.S. Army. It was not until I became a police officer that I started having low back pain. I immediately noticed that standing for even short periods of time caused fatigue, pain, and discomfort in my lower back. It was not long before I identified the culprit. The problem was the officer duty belt. The average duty belt carries a lot of equipment and subsequently a large amount of weight (i.e. , gun, holster, extra magazines with ammo, handcuffs, baton, flashlight, radio, o.c. spray, etc). Not only is all the weight worn around the waist, but the only way to keep it feeling secure is to tighten your belt. You in turn lose range-of-motion and circulation to your lower back lower extremities.
Because I am also a Chiropractor, I know that bio-mechanically the pelvis is not a natural location for load distribution on the human body. The shoulders and upper back have always been primary anatomical areas to carry and distribute these loads. This is why military personal, students, and hikers have accurately chosen the “back-pack” to carry their books and supplies throughout the ages. For whatever reason, police have continued to add more equipment to their duty belts over the years, and subsequent weight, without taking into consideration the bio-mechanical and medical consequences of doing so. I have seen first hand the taxing effects of the police duty belt on police officers. It starts out innocent enough with mild low back pain, painful knees, and sore feet. Over time this develops into chronic muscle fatigue, damaged cartilage in the knees, degenerative disc disease in the low back, and subsequently osteophytic formation in the vertebrae (i.e. bone spurs). The cities employing these officers feel the pressure through increased cases in workmen’s compensation. You find most police officers retire due to health problems and not because they have chosen to do so.
The Back Defender has been designed to carry the load of the duty belt on the shoulders and not the pelvis. Also because it acts like a pair of suspenders, the duty belt is allowed to be worn loosely around the waist without concern of stability. This allows for increased circulation and range of motion, combined with the benefits of supporting the load of the belt on the officer’s shoulders. Range of motion is of utmost concern for any patrol officer involved in either a foot chase or physical alteration with a felon. For me personally, the belt represents a huge increase in officer safety because of this. Secondarily, it has alleviated all low back pain I have experienced while standing for long periods of time. It is a product that only needs to be tried once in order to be sold. This is new, cutting-edge technology for law enforcement. Inventors of the Back Defender have built this product from the ground up. There is nothing else like it on the market. Within 5 years this product will become standard issue for all local and federal law enforcement agencies nationwide.
Dr. Kevin J. Ruppert B.S, D.C.
I just wanted to take a minute to leave some feedback about the Back Defender product. I have been in law enforcement for 9 1/2 years. Over the years I have purchased countless items for the job. The Back Defender is hands down….with out a doubt….the single best item I have purchased. I have a bad back… like many cops and the Back Defender has made the pain go away. I rarely see my chiropractor anymore and I firmly believe it’s due to the Back Defender. I work for a very large police department and tell everyone about it. Thank you guys so much for putting this amazing product out there for officers. It has truly changed my life by relieving my pain. I only wish I would have bought it sooner!!
I originally purchased the back defense system in March 2011 after being involved in an on duty car accident the injured my back. After my back pain from the accident went away I continued to use the harness because it made a big difference in the way my hips would feel after working a twelve hour shift. I no longer had any back or hip pain due to the weight of my duty belt.
A year and a half went by and I broke a small metal tab on one of the keepers that caused the harness to become unusable. I no longer had the purchase receipt and could not find any information about the warranty on the product. I contacted customer care through the e-mail address on the web site and immediately set out trying to find my old keepers because I did not have high hopes that I would be able to get my harness repaired or replaced.
less than a half an hour later I received a phone call from the company asking me what address I wanted the replacement parts shipped at no cost! They didn’t hassle me about any warranty or lack of receipts just provided great customer service. I buy a lot of product online and rarely find a company that is willing to support the products that sell so I was very surprised.
When I originally purchased the harness I thought it was rather expensive but after using it every day I would not hesitate to buy it again as it is well worth the price and very well made and nobody can tell that I wear it underneath my uniform.