Nursing and Carers – High Risk Industry Chronic LBP

Do you have trouble with bending, lifting, twist or conducting daily duties at work? Are you constantly experiencing numbness, weakness or pain? Nurses and carers are considered some of the most stressed and over worked employees due to the tireless demands and hours required within the industry. The combination of no sleep, understaffing, overtime and night shifts place a large amount of pressure and responsibility upon the staff. Throughout a career many nurses and carers prioritise patients’ needs over their own wellbeing. However this selfless mindset exposes nurses and carers to the risk of work related injuries especially to the lower back.

The recent implementation of no lifting policies and OH&S laws have significantly reduced some of this exposed risk, although real world experience tells us that in the instance of a fallen patient, lifting them against protocol is often done. This lifting is usually done in an uncontrolled environment which can be dependent upon the level of cooperation, cognitive abilities or injuries of the patient.

It has been reported that nurses and carers are in the top 5 at risk occupations for developing lower back conditions. Rates of low back pain have been reported as high as one third of nurses/carers having experienced an episode of low back pain in the last month. One of the main factors that is attributed to your low back pain is related to poor posture.

Nurses and carers are regularly situated in vulnerable positions within a forever changing environment. Safety procedures often are based around the patient and not the carer, which results in many instances of stooped and crouched postures. The various duties that are involved in nursing are repeated over the period of years which places continuous unwanted strain on your lumbar spine. The risk of biomechanical overload on your spine is often amplified in high care wards such as dementia or rehab. However the number one indicator for developing chronic low back pain is if you have had a previous episode.

To reduce the risk of progression into a chronic condition we need to help prevent and alleviate the cause of the pain.

Nurses are frequently in fast paced, high pressure situations where manual handling and correct lifting techniques are low on the priority list. In these instances where you are not thinking about your wellbeing, we at Functional Health will help equip you with the requisite strength and stability to prevent these injuries. The musculature around your lumbar spine is vital to providing this stability and at Functional Health we work together with you to build this functional strength to prepare you for the daily activities and stress of work.

Our speciality MedX rehab equipment is designed to change the resistance throughout each movement to ensure maximal benefits are gained in a safe and controlled environment. MedX patented system secures the pelvis and lower limbs to ensure that you aren’t able to compensate and assist the movement with other muscles e.g. glutes, hamstring/quads and specifically target the intended lumbar spine muscle groups.

Our team of physiotherapists and exercise physiologist design a tailored exercise program in combination with the MedX rehab equipment to strengthen the stabilising muscles which provide protection and support. It is imperative to normalise the movement patterns and restore normal function of the spine while unloading the additional stress. Due to the nature of the duties nurses and carers complete, your spine is repetitively subjected to mechanical loading which it is not designed to withstand.

At Functional Health we encourage and help you target the source of the pain rather than just masking it. Your low back pain can severely impact your productivity and quality of life. Our team work closely together to follow up on your treatment to ensure you return to full function. We progress you through all stages of rehab, firstly to control your pain, increase your mobility and strength and lastly lead you through to prevention of reoccurrence.