Majority of health workers have chronic backache,says study

A study conducted by two researchers has brought to light the high prevalence of lower backache as a common occupational problem among nurses.

Written by Sameer Kumar Sharma | Ludhiana | Published: February 11, 2009 1:00:59 am

A study conducted by two researchers has brought to light the high prevalence of lower backache as a common occupational problem among nurses.

The study has revealed that more than 50 per cent of the health workers selected from government and private hospitals had either moderate or minimal level of disability.

Researchers Dr Sandeep Singh,assistant professor of physiotherapy at CMCH and Prabhjot Saini,assistant professor in the College of Nursing,Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) also presented the paper in the World Federation for Physical Therapy held in Mumbai recently.

Listing the results,Dr Sandeep said a majority of the nurses were found to have certain level of disability. “While 50 per cent of them were found to have minimal level of disability and 35 per cent had moderate level of lower backache. However,one of the interesting findings was that most of the nurses working in the wards that include heavy workload like Intensive Care Units (ICU) or casualty units had a high prevalence and extent of lower backache,” he explained. He added that another important finding was that those having high Body Mass Index (BMI) or those who are overweight have still higher level of low backache as it leads to compression and narrowing of the disk.

The study had a sample size of 100 health workers selected randomly from different government and private hospitals in the state. The results were based on the standardised questionnaire (Oswestry Low Back Pain disability tool). A majority of the nurses (49 per cent) belonged to the age group 20-35 years and the mean age was 36 years.

It was found during the study that 50 per cent of the nurses covered in the study had minimal level of disability and 35 per cent were found to be prone to moderate level of disability.

Dr Sandeep said stress and overweight were the major reasons that led to low back ache in nurses affecting their daily activities especially lying,sleeping,standing and handling patients. Dr Saini said the nurses need to lift and move patients and therefore need to prevent this chronic condition which may take a more serious proportion later on in life by having a healthy diet and weight management.

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