Do You Have a Bad Back from Nursing?

Nurses General Nursing


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  1. How Bad is Your Back from Nursing?

    • 39
      No problems
    • 106
      Occasionally soreness, relieved with prn OTC meds
    • 61
      Severe. Have to medicate every day.
    • 27
      Severe: Have had surgery.
    • 13

246 members have participated

Specializes in Orthosurgery, Rehab, Homecare.

I work on a rehab unit. All 42 of our patients get up, out of bed, to go to therapies 2-3 times a day, no matter how big/hard to transfer they are.(Unless they are hemodynamically unstable or still in a coma state- then they go on strecher) We have two different kinds of lifting devices, 2 kinds of sliding boards, pivot discs, slip sheets, and an air coushion lift. All of these help alot! We are also required to learn manual lifing and transfer techniques for those who slide or pivot. Talk to your managers and administrators, the devices are out there and I'm betting that they will save money in long run. Be advocates for YOUR health. Best of luck to those who are hurting. :o

~Jen :)

Specializes in Cardiac.

I work in a cardiac ICU, and we are constantly hauling monitors around that weigh a ton, along with the chest tubes, external pacer in my front pocket, foley hanging off my side pocket, o2 tank, imed, and oh yeah, one arm under the pt! I am in constant agony. Ibuprofen is not working anymore. We did a MVR on a 400+ lb pt couple of weeks ago, and the pain in my back has not gone away. :crying2: Good technique can't help much when there is only 1 tech (me) and a few nurses present.

BTW, we only use draw sheets and manpower...

I lifted a little old man, who weighted 100 pounds dripping wet and herniated my L4-5 disc. I had surgery almost tne months later and was getting ready to return to my primary job, as a senior case manager, when a big rig hit me. Good news, my surgical site came thru without a problem. Bad news, I suffered traumatic injuries and haven't worked a day since. I currently am nursing the other side of L4-5 and will need surgery shortly for that side. The fun never ends.

Grannynurse :balloons:


145 Posts

30 years med/surg and rehab, no problems.

PennyLane, RN

1,193 Posts

I'm a small person--I wear a size 2 and I admit that I'm not very strong. Working as a tech part-time in ICU for one year while in school has left me with chronic back pain. Whenever a nurse needed to get someone out of bed, turn someone, or boost someone up, I was the one they called. I get flare-ups that I have treated with chiropractic and acupuncture. They work wonders for me.


49 Posts

I am a large person with no abs and getting on in years. I have nursed for 25 years. My injury which must have had no bone involvement occurred pulling up someone from standing at the top of the bed on the bar. I was in isolation and the person had a siezure as I pulled them up. No one could hear me yelping! Since then I have had several muscle spasm attacks, about once a year and I learnt how to be very careful with my back. I have to admire those who have described how they haul people about, and I watch the nurse's aides pull up people all by themselves. I just can't and when I do try or help others I put in a certain amount of effort and if the weight is beyond me I just won't do it. I don't believe I am required, or anyone else is either, to injure myself. It doesn't help the institution to have staff members injured. We use lifts and people are designated 1 or 2 assists. I work in a nursing home now but I used to work in Coronary Care and I don't remember it being a weight lifting event. I guess I have been lucky but have always felt that my back health was important to my employers. The one fall I had was flat on my chest. Lucky I am well endowed! My manager suggested that the nurse's aids should push the med cart along for me! Yeah right! I thought. They'll love that!. I figured I could push it along with my butt if I needed to.

Abbys, RN

17 Posts

Tell us about it!

Do you use medication on a regular basis or other means to relieve your chronic back issues?

I herniated a lumbar disc lifting my 3 yr old prior to nursing career. I elected no surgery. My injury made me VERY aware of body mechanics/techniques, abs and back strengthining. I have had to excuse myself from certain tasks. So far, knock on wood, no problems after 10+ yrs.


297 Posts

I'm starting nursing school and am concerned about this, because I already have a bad back.

The one thing I've noticed does wonders for my back pain is Pilates. My pain is chronic, I feel it every morning, except when I'm doing Pilates.


5 Posts

Tell us about it!

Do you use medication on a regular basis or other means to relieve your chronic back issues?

12 hour nights on med/surg unit. Finishing my first year as a RN and about 6 months ago I started having problems with my back. I'm tall and the med stations are low, and well everyone knows about bending over beds and lifting multiple pts a night. Using proper body mechanics doesnt keep it from coming back. I use advil and try to stretch and do stregthening exercises on my days off. Considering going into see a chiropracter soon to see if that doesnt help some.



5 Posts

I started with my back difficulties around 9 years ago. Having always considered myself strong and in pretty good physical shape, I found myself with a herniated disc. L4 and L5. I was out of work for 3 months. The Dr's wanted to perform surgery, but I opted for a different approach. I started exercises and massage therapy which was a better approach for me than steroids, flexeril and immobility. I still have problems and take an Alleve daily. Sometimes the pain can be overpowering especially on long days. I have made changes recently in my job. I am in the process of going part time and I am very excited about these changes. For all of the chronic back pain sufferers, I feel for you and also have a different kind of appreciations for others who suffer with chronic pain.

i have three herniated lumbar discs, one herniation is new and my other two i have had for two years after a injury helping a pt not to fall on the floor. a very, very obese pt who was ambulatory, but was getting out of bed to go to the BR. her knees gave out, and i tried to lift her. what the heck was i thinking? was just a reflex i guess to try to prevent her from falling; and i did, with the help of three other people.

three mri's, two spinal surgeons, spinal steroid injections, a chiropractor, natural healing, massage, PT, home exercise, and two years later.....i am now reduced to working part time, supporting two toddlers on my own, and trying to finish school (i am an lpn going through excelsior). i take vicodin on a daily basis, muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatories (i sure miss bextra!), heat. and the pain is relentless. i go to see my spinal surgeon next month. i don't know what he will do, i am so young (just 27) and i need to work. i have two kids to support. oh, and i nearly forgot my recent flare-up of SLE which has had me in the hospital twice this year; and the migraines that are he** in the spring because of my sinuses/asthma problems. oh boy, this has been such a terrible year for me. i sure hope something gets better, and soon. :o

Your situation is really scary. What can we do to prevent situations like these? Do any nurses wear back braces to prevent these type of situations? Any advice??

Did a quick search and I found this.

They have a big selection of braces which may help. May be a little annoying to wear, but not as annoying as an injured back. I think these would probably help those who already have back problem as well by preventing further damage and offering a little support.

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