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

Gompers, BSN, RN

2,691 Posts

Specializes in NICU.

Seven years in the NICU, and my back is absolutely fine.

My hands, on the other hand, are trashed. I've easily washed my hands 100 times in a 12 hour shift. In the wintertime...we're talking bleeding knuckles, the whole bit.

Small price to pay.

UM Review RN, ASN, RN

7 Articles; 5,163 Posts

Specializes in Utilization Management.
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??

Back braces are not the answer' in fact, their benefit is debatable.

There are tools for proper lifting and turning of patients available.

We need to promote no-lift policies and urge facilities to supply the proper lifting equipment.


12 Posts

Specializes in geriatrics.

I have had a bad back for years and back in "98" I had to have surgery to remove the ..."mothership of all hernia's " as my doctor had put it!! I worked in LTC and we were short one night and I hate to admit it but we all took short cuts and one night I was alone on a wing as a cna and I got behind the head of the patients bed and grabbed the lift sheet and hoisted a some 250 lb pt. up in bed by myself , I didn't really think I hurt myself till the next morning when I couldn't walk, I mean I leave work every night aching all over! So I had herniated the L5-S1 and by the time I had gotten an MRI , because of HMO's and they don't want to treat you until you try everything under the sun first , PT, chiro, heat , stim, mulitude of drugs, finally decided that surgery would be beneficial, so off i went for the surgery and after waiting so long for the MRI to find out what was wrong , because at first they only thought it sciatica nerve pain because I Am overweight, well the hernia had starved the two disc's above it and they are no good either , now 7 years later , the whole right side of my body has dropped and I have a herniated cervical disc c6 , and right foot pain , and a stenosed low back. but I work because if I didn't I think I would stiffen right up and not ever to move agian! I had let my compensation drop becasue they wanted a degree of disability and I wouldn't do that ,I mean I am young and have young children I need to work. now that I am getting older and feeling it more and more I wished I didn't but that was the choice I made , so I go to a chiro and she is good she has gotten a lil more motion in my low back , my spine actually moves when she manipulates it. she has given me some spinal remodeling exercises and I think i may not be so crippled after all! I hang my head of the edge of my bed every day for 15 minutes to help relign my neck I refuse to have the neck surgery to risky!!!!!!


59 Posts

Severe injury (unable to get out of bed/walk without adult assistance) due to a slipped disk (good old L5)

Had I gone to my GP, I would have required surgery. I went instead to a competent and compassionate chiropractor (I had never seen one and didnt' believe in them).

I am now his best advertisement by word of mouth.

It took months of 3-4 visits per week before I was pain free. I now do core strength excercises, raise every bed and pay attention to lifting guidelines/procedures.

I learned a hard hard lesson. I fear the re-injury (which is why I am extra cautious which is why I now take extra time but not near as much time as missing weeks of work having your grown daughter bring you a bedpan at home etc).

No surgery, no drugs (they didn't touch this type of pain anyway).

My careful use of techniques is actually catching on around the floor. Other nurses and techs just know that if I am on the way, we are going to raise that bed. Others also saw the pain I went through once I returned to work and they have no desire to be next. Whatever the reason, it's a good habit now.

Specializes in ER, ICU, L&D, OR.

No I have a bad back from raising 7 kids


54 Posts

Most of my aches and pains came from working PACU. Pushing beds and stretchers.

Long Term Care Columnist / Guide

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

108 Articles; 9,984 Posts

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

I've had a bad back since I was 14 and no bigger than a much for back problems being the bane of the middle-aged and overweight. Of course, being both has done absolutely nothing for my back except make things worse, but I keep going because if I were to give up my physically active job, I'd stiffen up and be no good to anybody. I just refuse to do the things that hurt, like pushing beds (and boy, do my co-workers hate me for that one) and lifting heavy patients without at least a four-person assist.

The way I figure it, I'm only one more back injury away from the food-stamp line, and my co-workers aren't the ones who'll have to support my family if I no longer can. In the meantime, I'll go do something for the co-workers who help get my 300-pound stroke patient OOB for his lunch; I just won't risk my livelihood, and my family's future, in doing something I know will result in more damage to the train wreck that is my spine.


3 Articles; 781 Posts

Specializes in ICU, step down, dialysis.

After 20 years of doing this, (all acute care), knock on wood, I don't have back problems, but I sure do have foot problems!

Have plantar fasciitis, have tried almost every shoe under the sun, finally got orthotics which help but I still have pain after a bad night.

Specializes in ER, ICU, L&D, OR.
After 20 years of doing this, (all acute care), knock on wood, I don't have back problems, but I sure do have foot problems!

Have plantar fasciitis, have tried almost every shoe under the sun, finally got orthotics which help but I still have pain after a bad night.

Get magnetic insoles, they cured mine in just a few days. But there was noticeable relief within jours of putting them on for me. I love magnets, better than drugs anyoletime


26 Posts

I was a nurse for 9 years before I injured. Stupidly I listened to my boss and weighed a 375 lb patient with a bed scale I knew would not weight the patient properly. She assured me it would. He ended up almost tipping over and i grabbed the end to stop it.....dumb me. Now I have constant pain and I lost my job.

Lucky for me I did get a good job where no lifting is required.


155 Posts

Specializes in critical care.

Neck hurts more than my back.


16 Posts

I have been working in the nursing field since I was 14 years old. I had a job as a CNA in a nursing home. Now,40 years later,(I became an LPN?EMT) I hurt my back lifting a patient and cannot work anymore. Needless to say, where I worked was a religous order and did not have to have work comp or unemployment,so I was screwed. I am now unfortunately living on disability. I have a bulging disc and spinal stenosis. So I tell everyone to be especially careful in those transfers, and if at all possible,carry your own disability insurance. It would be WELL worth it if anything happens to you. Your job isn't necessarily the one to count on if something goes wrong.. Take care of yourselves!!! you know that no one else will! I learned the hard way..

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