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Preventing and Managing Back Pain for Nurses

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Back Pain: Nowadays, nurses encounter the common question of how to prevent or even manage lower back pain. In fact, back complications are one of the most reported occupational health complications for nurses, especially through their retirement years. Many healthcare workers resort to self-medicating with over-the-counter pain relievers, but while these may offer relief from their symptoms, the effects are only temporary. Through several lifestyle changes, many nurses could achieve long-term relief from their lower back pain by managing their symptoms and preventing further low back complications.

First, stretching and exercising regularly should be fundamental for a nurse. Staying in a single position for long periods of time, as usual in the healthcare workplace, can place an unequal amount of pressure on the muscles, resulting in muscle weakness and uneven weight distribution. Stretching frequently on the job can help loosen up tight muscles and temporarily relieve back pain. Then following a series of stretches with exercise can help regulate and further reduce back pain because it strengthens the structures supporting the back muscles. Engaging in strength training exercises can help keep low back pain away longer. Additionally, stretching and exercising the body enough before back pain symptoms appear in the first place can also help prevent back complications.

Strength training exercises, such as body squats, can boost stability and strengthen the entire body. Pilates is also a beneficial exercise because it specifically focuses on increasing flexibility and strength.

Moreover, eating a healthy diet is crucial for nurses to prevent and manage low back pain. Due to the heavy demand of the job, it’s usually difficult for many nurses to follow a balanced, nutritional diet. Skipping meals, overloading with caffeine, or simply eating fast food meals when there’s little time between shifts these improper eating habits can contribute to weight gain. A lack of essential minerals in their diets, like calcium and potassium, can increase the risk of lower back complications without sufficiently meeting the body’s nutritional needs. The extra weight can add more pressure on the lower back area, leading to back strains and its well-known symptoms when the body carries a little more pounds than it should.

Then, nurses should practice proper posture while in the workplace to avoid back complications. Lifting and transferring patients are the most common reasons nurses develop work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Although specific body mechanic techniques are practiced by many nurses, in the rush of a busy workday, the spine can be overexerted. It may eventually lead to damage or injury to the spine. Aside from this, sitting improperly for extended periods, reaching over in awkward positions, and standing for an even longer period of hours can place additional stress on the muscles and other tissues surrounding the spine.

While these types of tasks are almost inevitable in a nurse’s line of work, being mindful of your posture and correcting it from time to time can help greatly. Throughout your day, take note of your posture in the reflection of a mirror. When standing up, the spine should be aligned with the hips, and the stomach should be tucked in. When seated, try to keep your back straight and evenly distribute your weight on both hips. While working, also make sure to avoid abrupt changes in your position and remember to utilize proper body mechanics to prevent back strains.

And finally, because nurse occupations, and often other healthcare workplace occupations, require people to be constantly up on their feet, it’s essential to invest in proper footwear. Nurses’ shoes tend to be lighter than any other type of shoe. Most of them are made with specially designed materials to protect the individual’s feet, particularly from spills. There are even some types of nurses’ shoes that have a unique set of soles to help with balance in order to avoid slips and falls throughout a heavy work shift.

Many healthcare workers use other types of shoes at work. Still, the comfort and protection nurses’ shoes offer, including the proper arch support and quality of the materials used, can help increase an individual’s productivity at work by improving posture further and ultimately preventing and/or managing low back pain and other symptoms.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.elpasochiropractorblog.com

Nowadays, nurses encounter the common question of how to prevent or even manage lower back pain. In fact, back complications are one of the most reported occupational health complications for nurses, especially through their retirement years. Through several lifestyle changes, many nurses could achieve long-term relief from their lower back pain by managing their symptoms and preventing further low back complications.

By Dr. Alex Jimenez

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The information herein on "Preventing and Managing Back Pain for Nurses" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

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Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, acupuncture, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN*, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*

email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

Licensed as a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) in Texas & New Mexico*
Texas DC License # TX5807, New Mexico DC License # NM-DC2182

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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN* CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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