Kansas nurses are often underappreciated for the number of hours they work helping patients who otherwise cannot help themselves. This equates to long periods of time on their feet, lifting and moving patients and working in awkward positions. The result of all of this hard work is often back pain and, sometimes, severe injury.
What causes back pain for working nurses?
In many cases, back pain comes on slowly. It may begin with a twitch or muscle spasm that eventually turns into something much more painful. In some cases, it can mean lost wages due to time off work for recovery. Some nurses may even wonder if they should receive workers’ compensation for their injury.
Because of the demands of the nursing profession, nurses face musculoskeletal injuries involving muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones of the back. This can mean life-long recurring illness. Some of the top causes for back injuries include:
- Pushing and pushing patients in wheelchairs or on stretchers
- Poor posture while sitting or standing for long periods of time
- Repeated use of impact or vibrating tools
- Lifting patients for repositioning
- Moving heavy equipment and supplies
Minimizing the possibilities of back injury
Prevention is the best step to minimize nurses’ back injuries. Recognizing the symptoms of musculoskeletal disorders and immediately reporting them to your supervisor can minimize the severity of these disorders. This can also help reduce the overall cost of treating these injuries. At times, it may be necessary to seek the assistance of a workers’ compensation attorney to answer your questions.
Ways you can prevent on-the-job back pain begin with simple solutions like wearing supportive shoes and sleeping on supportive mattresses. Make sure to get regular exercise and focus on strengthening lumbar, abdominal and pelvic muscles.
Learn appropriate body mechanics for lifting or repositioning heavy objects and use all assistive devices when lifting on the job. If you are on your feet for long periods, be sure to flex and stretch often. Finally, avoid doing anything that can put additional stress on your back and spine.