Interventions To Prevent Back Pain And Back Injury In Nurses: A Systematic Review

Healthcare Ergonomics September 11, 2013

What are the most effective interventions to prevent back injury at work?  A paper by Dawson et al (2007) looked at 51 papers to determine this.  Of the papers reviewed, only 20 met their selection criteria.  The study cohorts consisted of nurses, nursing aides, student nurses, and at times a combination of nurse categories.

Interventions examined in the 20 papers included:  Material Handling Training and Equipment, Lumbar Supports, Stress Management, and Multidimensional Programs (exercise, manual handling training, pain and lifestyle management, and risk assessment training).  While some of the researcher’s findings are fairly obvious, some of the findings may surprise you.

Review of all 51 papers led the researchers to believe that the available literature on evidence of effective back injury interventions in nurses is of poor quality.  Of the 20 papers accepted, multidimensional strategies are effective and manual handling training in isolation is ineffective.  There was some evidence to suggest that use of lumbar supports were effective with this group of cohorts.

As is usually included in research article conclusions, the researchers assert the need for more and higher quality studies.

For more information on this topic:
Dawon AP, McLennan SN, Schiller SD, Jull GA, Hodges PW, Stewart S (2007):  Interventions to prevent back pain and back injury in nurses:  a systematic review.  Occup Environ Med, 64:  642-650.

To learn more about how you to reduce ergonomic risk factors from the healthcare workplace check out our Healthcare Ergonomics Online Course

– Vic Zuccarello, OTR/L, C.E.A.S. II, ABDA

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