Work Related Back Injuries
Lorraine Stevenson has worked as a RN in a nursing home facility for over a decade. Lorraine puts in long hours, often working a double shift, and spends a lot time on her feet. Lorraine, who has struggled with her weight due to “stress eating”, makes sure she keeps active during her time off.
Her doctor told her that her occupation puts her at great risk for suffering work related back injuries, even if she keeps at an optimal weight. Lorraine takes great care when assisting nursing home residents, as she knows that she must “carry” the weight of the immobile elders. In her facility, Lorraine and her co-workers use chair lifts and gait belts whenever possible to ensure safety for themselves and the residents.
On a busy weekend shift, Lorraine was supervising a short-staffed team of nursing assistants. Lorraine was working on handing out meds when she was urgently called to help an assistant, who was struggling to help a resident off of the bathroom floor. The elderly woman had slipped on the floor and needed help getting up.
Lorraine bent down to assist the elderly resident and felt a “pop” in her lower back. After making sure the resident was uninjured, she returned to the nurse’s station and iced her back. Because they were short staffed for the day, Lorraine tried to stick to light tasks that did not require additional straining or bending.
After returning home, Lorraine’s back pain worsened and her husband drove her to the hospital. She was given prescription pain meds and was told she’d have to take time off of work for a week or two. If her symptoms continued to worsen or didn’t improve, she would need to consider surgery to repair her back. The emergency room doctor told Lorraine that her job had simply taken its toll on her back.
Is Your Job Hurting Your Back?
Whether you work at an office job, in a hospital, or on a construction site, you could be at risk for serious back injuries. As much as your place of employment may strive to prevent work related injuries by enforcing safety guidelines and training, back injuries are still possible.
According to a 2011 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 447,220 non-fatal occupational illnesses and injuries, involving days away from work, occurred. Of those reports, 162,890 involved an injury to the back. Among the highest risk for work related injuries include general maintenance and repair workers, registered nurses, hospital orderlies and nursing assistants, janitorial staff, and landscaping workers.
What Makes Your Back at Risk for Injury?
Back injuries can occur even during the lightest or simplest of tasks and some individuals are more prone to back issues than others. Many employees in the workforce want to know why their job makes their back hurt and prone to debilitating injuries. Work-related back injury could occur for several reasons, but is most often due to:
Force: If you exert too much force on your back when you lift or move heavy objects, your back could become more vulnerable to injury.
Repetition: Many jobs require the repetition of movements which can put your body at risk for injury. To prevent such injuries, see if you are able to change it up at work.
Accident or Trauma
Other than following mandatory safety guidelines within your workplace, it is advantageous to take care of yourself and your body. Individuals who are physically well are often less likely to have a work-related back injury; although even the fittest of individuals could still find themselves victim to an injury. Consider your health and lifestyle and how it may relate to your back pain/injury. If you are overweight, out of shape, smoke, stressed or don’t sleep well, you may want to make changes for the health of you and your back.
Suffering from an injury in the workplace can be scary, stressful and bring on a plethora of other issues such as physical, emotional, and financial pain. When you go to work, is your job hurting you and putting your body at risk for back injury?
Author Bio: Lili Miller is an avid blogger, and welcomes others to share their knowledge on her site. She invites you to blog on stuff YOU know, so that others can return the favor by blogging on stuff THEY know.SIMPLY is a pretty cool concept. You should check it out!