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More than 70% of nurses have chronic low back pain

On Behalf of | Dec 5, 2023 | Workers' Compensation

Nursing places considerable physical strain on health care professionals, leading to a widespread issue: chronic low back pain. The demanding nature of nursing duties, including lifting patients, prolonged standing and awkward body positions, contributes to the prevalence of low back pain among this demographic.

Understanding the causes and consequences of this chronic pain is the key to addressing the well-being of these health care providers.

Causes of chronic low back pain

Nurses often assist patients in moving from beds to chairs, maneuvering them for medical procedures or helping them walk. The repetitive lifting of heavy loads places significant strain on the lower back. This can lead to chronic pain over time.

Nurses also spend extended periods on their feet. They may do to while providing patient care, administering medications or conducting various medical procedures. Prolonged standing can lead to chronic low back pain. The repetitive nature of these movements contributes to musculoskeletal strain and discomfort.

The design of health care facilities and the equipment nurses use can contribute to the development of chronic low back pain. Inadequate workplace ergonomics contribute to sustained stress on the lower back. Improving workplace ergonomics helps mitigate the risk of chronic pain among nurses.

Consequences of chronic low back pain

The impact of chronic low back pain extends beyond personal discomfort. It can also affect patient care. Nurses in pain may experience reduced mobility and efficiency, which can compromise the quality of care they provide. Chronic pain can also lead to burnout and absenteeism. This can further affect the overall well-being of health care professionals and the delivery of health care services.

The World Health Organization reports that up to 72% of nurses experience chronic work-related low back pain. By prioritizing the physical well-being of nurses, the health care industry can enhance both the working conditions of these professionals and the quality of patient care they deliver.