Medical shows like ER, House M.D. or Grey’s Anatomy rarely ever show the physical struggles of doctors (save the extreme situations Meredith had to encounter—bombs, plane crashes, and drowning). It’s not a glamorous profession, being a doctor, especially when you only get four weeks of vacation in a year, mind you when they have to work on weekends. They don’t get to rest on comfortable office chairs like many employees do.
There’s more than one kind of doctor. Pediatricians who treat children don’t have the same experience as orthopedic surgeons who operate on the skeletal system. They all have their share of pain but here’s a list of doctors who commonly hurt their back during work.
It’s not exactly easy to sedate people and monitor their condition for long hours in surgery. They have to make sure that patients feel no pain in the duration of the operation. It gets tedious especially when you never know exactly when it ends, especially for high-risk cases. More than the surgeon’s partner in the OR, they have to manage and treat patients who develop abnormal breathing or irregular heart rates during surgery.
This requires them to stand or sit for a long period of time in one position just observing the patient in a procedure. This causes their muscles to stiffen, and hurt especially because this is part of their routine. When a patient goes to critical condition, it gets even more stressful.
A surgery takes about an hour to half a day, sometimes longer if there are complications. Surgeons have to stand and be cautious of their movements for long hours in an operation that will save a patient. The worst part of this is they can’t sit during a surgery. They have to be mobile in case of complications.
Standing in one position for that long stiffens the muscles, especially because surgeons need to bow down and look at a person’s open chest or brain or abdomen, which produces neck pain. Other doctors have more freedom to stretch but for the surgeon, a single mistake can kill a life.
It’s grueling to treat patients with life-threatening conditions. Doctors in the emergency department are the people who greet ambulances, and diagnose patients on the spot with little to no information. Some of them close to dying because of a grave accident. They rush people to OR’s, lift patients’ bodies when necessary for treatment.
Because of this, it’s very common for them to suddenly twist their back to reach medical tools and treat patients or resuscitate dying ones. Coupled with instances of lifting patients, this leads to back pain especially because they regularly do this. Sometimes they also have to fly on medical helicopters to reach patients who are in critical condition but can’t move because they’re stuck. They’re one of the few doctors who use more strength than other doctors.
To say that their jobs are extremely stressful is a euphemism. They are the farthest from executive office chairs that some physicians have in their offices. Being an army doctor means getting deployed overseas to treat soldiers, and sometimes wounded civilians, in the battlefield. The nature of their job endangers their lives more than any other doctor. There are times when they have to make do with limited equipment, and improvise with whatever they have on the field, just to keep people alive.
There won’t always be stretchers, which is why they have to often carry wounded comrades back to camp while keeping them from bleeding. Back injuries are common and sometimes considered as part of the job.
Medicine is a noble profession, and it pays well. But it comes at the cost of not only an expensive education, but also extreme stress for the rest of your life. There’s a high risk of chronic back pain when not treated well or without any tools that can assist their posture during work such as chairs for posture support. It’s one of the most difficult jobs there is, but still one of the most fulfilling.