Lower Back Pain High In Nurses


Out of the many occupations involving work related injury, nursing comes in top. A nurse has to deliver their duties over a 12-hour shift at least three times a week. While taking care of patients, a nurse is generally oblivious about their own health, especially pain in the lower back. These are some reasons that lower back pain is high in nurses. A slight pain in the back can aggravate to deliberating low back pain over the course of grueling hours of duty during the career of a nurse, which is why nurses need support as highlighted here.


Lower Back Pain High In Nurses

Nurses suffer from work-related low back pain more often than workers in other professions

Tall, in her 50s and sporting a perfectly coiffed salt-and-pepper pixie cut, the woman was one of the most respected nurses in the hospital. She had nearly three decades of clinical experience, so older nurses and doctors valued her insight, younger ones sought her approval, and those of us in between tried to stand a little straighter in her presence.


One morning, however, she arrived at work to find that the hospital was full and her unit understaffed. It wasn’t the first time she had to cover for more patients because of staffing issues, but by the end of this 12-hour shift, she noticed a slight twinge in her lower back — a minor muscle sprain, she thought, from helping one of the other nurses lift a patient.


A week later, the slight twinge turned into debilitating back pain.


But she continued to work through the pain. “What else could I do?” she said one afternoon, pointing out all the patients who would suffer without the additional nurse. “I thought I was going to be lucky and make it to retirement without getting hurt, but now I just want to be able to put in a few more years so I can retire.”


When she rubbed the heel of her palm against her back, I saw her lower lip begin to quiver slightly.


“How terrible is it that we do everything to care for the health of others,” she whispered, “but we cannot care for ourselves.”


Nurses make up the largest group of health care providers in the United States, working in venues as varied as doctors’ offices and biotech firms, governmental agencies and private insurers. Trusted more than almost any other professional, nurses exert a wide-ranging influence on how health care is delivered and defined.


But nurses’ work is not easy, particularly in the hospital setting, where they must deal with intense intellectual and significant physical demands over three or more grueling 12-hour shifts each week. Not surprisingly, nursing ranks among the worst occupations in terms of work-related injuries, and studies have shown that in a given year, nearly half of all nurses will have struggled with lower back pain.


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The fact that lower back pain is high in nurses can be attributed to the long shifts where they need to move patients as part of their duty in taking care of patients.  Of all professions, you would expect that nurses would be more knowledgeable than others of manual handling techniques and applying the training they receive to ensure that they do not do anything that damages their own body. A nurse has to lift and move patients, and in doing so risks a back-related injury. Nurses seldom find time for their own rehabilitation due to the nature of their profession. Yet, ironically, they should be most aware of the damage of lifting heavy objects can do when they see builders and other people in a hospital bed.


Anne Hafner, DON of Nurses PRN discusses how nurses can prevent and manage back pain.




Find more information on prevention of back pain by getting your free copy of The 7 Day Back Pain Cure from The Healthy Back Institute. You can get your 250 page softcover copy of the book mailed to your home address in several days for just a small shipping fee. Just click the instant access button below to get your free copy.



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