The prevalence of low back pain amongst nurses at Edendale Hospital

Thembelihle Patricia Dlungwane, Anna Voce


Low back pain is an imortant public health problem and one of the most common causes of ailment and injury. It is the number one problem facing the workforce in the US today. Low back pain is a major hazard in the workplace, particularly in the nursing profession. The main occupational risk factors are : 

  • lifting and moving patients
  • frequent twisting and bending
  • sustained postures
  • ergonomic structuring
  • job organisation
  • work design
  • anxiety  
  • depression
  • stress
  • low social support at work
  • poor job satisfaction
  • shortage of staff and poor working conditions

At Edendale hospital, the physiotherapy case load of nurses attending ude to low back pain has increased from 30% - 45% over the past 3 years and this includes all nursing categories (professional nurses, staff nurses and nursing assistants). Most of the nurses that have been receiving physiotherapy services are working in theatre, intensive care units and medical wards. The risk factor of low back pain at Edendale hospital remain unclear and it is not clear whether low back painis more prevalent in certain words. Knowing the prevalence will assist nursing and hospital managers to plan appropriate interventions.