Nurses are heroes who take care of other people even when they aren’t taken care of themselves. They don’t sit around in a yoga chair like some of us who have the time for luxury. They are some of the most underappreciated people in the medical world.
It’s not exactly easy to regularly perform physical exams on (sometimes bratty and grumpy) patients, assist their movement, and aid them in daily activities, like going to the bathroom or taking a shower. They’re also the ones who run to patients’ rooms when someone is coding. On other occasions, they have to assist surgeons for long hours in an organ transplant or other risky surgeries. This is why nurses often experience back pain. They are at a higher risk of getting a back injury than most workers because of the nature of their job.
The Culprit of the Pain
Exercise is good but unfortunately not all types of physical activity is healthy for our body. Many nurses get injured due to repetitively lifting patients to help them change positions, or simply to take them to the bathroom. Carrying weight that is too much for your back muscles to handle is one of the most common reasons why people experience pain in general. Especially when nurses are assigned to patients who are disabled and heavy, taking care of them as part of a routine leaves little to no time for rest and recovery.
Poor posture is one of the major reasons why many employees have back pain. But for nurses who don’t get to sit in a comfortable office chair, it’s inevitable especially in the operating room where they have to curve their necks down to watch the surgery and be alert about when to hand over the clamps to the dreamy doctor they’d rather look at. This kind of position for long hours is exhausting especially on a daily basis. It also overrides the spine’s natural curve and causes fatigue in the muscles. This is the reason nurses often feel weaker than they already were after weeks of assisting both patients and doctors.
Preventing the Pain
One of the basic things nurses can do is to recognize their limitations in helping patients out. Sometimes lifting someone to help them walk may be too strenuous. Using a wheelchair may be better. It not only lessens the risk of the patient falling, but also puts the pressure away from the nurse’s back—literally. Other tools like a stretcher or a gurney are also available when necessary.
But if the patient must be lifted manually, keep the patient close to your body when you’re holding them, or when lifting and moving them to another place. This is a more stable position as it helps you keep your natural center of gravity. If you hold them afar and extend your arms, you increase the possibility of dropping the patient by making your muscles weaker.
Thank God for shifting because nurses are not always on-call. Breaks, lunch time, and other times of not handling difficult and nerve-wracking situations, should all be spent with good posture. Make sure your head isn’t leaning forward to a slouch but balanced with your chin. Stand and sit with your chest slightly raised. Shoulders must also be relaxed and even, not hunched over. Having chairs for posture support in the workplace helps maintain this routine.
Nurses are very important for patient care. If your back is injured, you are not in your most productive state. Heroes need to take care of themselves too to take care of other people.