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Healthcare Workers & Back Injuries

Healthcare Workers & Back Injuries - El Paso Chiropractor
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According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, or NIOSH, more than 24 percent of all injuries associated with the workplace and illnesses requiring individuals to miss days from work are due to back complications. As a matter of fact, healthcare workers have 4.5 times as many back injuries caused by overexertion than any other type of worker.
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In addition, a performance improvement alliance consisting of more than 2,600 U.S. hospitals and more than 84,000 other healthcare sites known as Premier, national statistics demonstrated that six of the top ten professions with the highest chance for back injuries are nurse’s aides, licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, health aides, radiology technicians, and physical therapists. Among nurses, more than one one third of back complications are associated with the handling of patients and the frequency in which they are required to manually move patients. From a worldwide perspective, back injuries to nurses have a point prevalence of approximately 17 percent, an annual prevalence of 40-50 percent, and a lifetime prevalence of 35-80 percent.

These are only the accounted rates for reported incidents as many individuals working under healthcare jobs can experience back pain and other symptoms and never receive medical attention. Back complications are a world-wide issue as other studies from Greece, China, and Denmark have recently showed the relation between nurses and back injuries, to name a few.

Roughly 80 percent of back injuries cause temporary symptoms and nurses as well as other workers usually return to their normal functioning and continue working normally. But, for other healthcare workers, their back pain could develop into chronic pain and, for a small percentage of these individuals, their symptoms can last a lifetime. This can cause a considerable impact on the individual’s independence and income as well as create a significant effect on healthcare due to its overburdened system in losing care givers. With an average age of 46.8 years, as the nursing workforce ages, there’s been a critical shortage of nurses throughout the country, with a 20% shortage by 2015 and an estimated 30% shortage by 2020. Conserving the health of the nursing staff and reducing back injuries in healthcare personnel is essential.

When it comes to back injuries and nurses, there are a variety of factors that can ultimately affect the well being of an individual. Back pain and other work-related musculoskeletal injuries may be caused by factors such as age, genetics, being overweight or out of shape, poor posture, poor body mechanics, pregnancy, tension, and personal stress. Injuries may also often occur as a result of trauma from an accident, such as a slip or fall, or an automobile accident. There is also cumulative trauma to the spine and its related structures which may occur gradually over time due to a single or multiple of the above factors.

Back complications in healthcare workers are generally due to repetitive manual handling activities of patients which often involves heavy lifting associated with transferring and repositioning patients. It’s believed that lifting patients has become a leading problem for nurses and their spines because of an increasing obesity epidemic in the U.S. as well as a rapid increase in the number of older people who require assistance with their daily living activities. These factors, combined with working in abnormal positions and lifting or moving heavy equipment, can quickly cause back complications.

As a nurse, many individuals readily depend on you to assist them through their recovery process, and as such, its important to remain as healthy as possible. While it may appear challenging to avoid these factors in order to decrease the risk of back injuries, seeking medical attention as soon as symptoms for persistent back pain can be a good way of preventing further back complications as well as help ease the strain of work on your body. A chiropractor can diagnose any possible back injuries or conditions that could be causing your symptoms. Through the use of spinal adjustments and manual manipulation, chiropractors help gradually restore an individual’s health and overall wellness, in order to help you return to your normal everyday activities.

By Dr. Alex Jimenez



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