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How common are musculoskeletal disorders among nurses?

On Behalf of | Oct 30, 2023 | Workers' Compensation |

Nursing is an invaluable yet demanding profession that involves extended hours of patient care, physical exertion and emotional support. This dedication to patient well-being is commendable but comes at a cost. Nurses frequently experience musculoskeletal disorders.

Nursing has taxing responsibilities such as lifting patients, transferring them between beds and enduring prolonged periods of standing or walking. These tasks place significant strain on a nurse’s body, particularly on the muscles, joints and spine.

Low back pain

A PubMed Central study revealed the most common injuries nurses face are to the lower back. Chronic low back pain is a prevalent complaint among nurses resulting from repetitive lifting, bending and extended periods of standing.

Neck and shoulder pain

Nurses frequently report neck and shoulder discomfort due to the demands of tasks like patient positioning, lifting and the need for constant vigilance over their patients. Unfavorable ergonomics within work environments can exacerbate these issues.

Carpal tunnel syndrome

The repetitive use of hands and wrists, such as charting and administering medications, can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. This causes discomfort and pain in the hands and fingers.

Knee pain

Nurses, especially those working in surgery or emergency departments, may experience knee pain due to constant standing and walking.

Factors contributing to MSDs among nurses

When nurses have to lift heavy patients or help them move, it can put a lot of stress on their bodies and even lead to injuries. Their workplace often features uncomfortable chairs, strange computer arrangements and a lack of the right equipment for lifting, which can make this problem worse. Nurses often work really long hours, and this can make them tired, making it harder for them to use their bodies correctly.

Because of the tough physical work, many nurses end up with muscle and bone problems. To keep nurses healthy and able to do their important job in healthcare, the industry must acknowledge these problems and put things in place to stop them from happening.