Working as a nurse is a very physical job. Not only are you on your feet for more than 12 hours per day in many cases, but the lifting, the exhaustion, and the mental toll can make things overwhelming. If you’re a nurse then you probably have had to do some physical therapy at some point.

It is very important to protect your health when you work in such a demanding job. Most of all, a back injury is very likely if you don’t take precautions. Although a worker’s compensation claim can be made whether or not the fault lies with the employer’s negligence, as you see if you click here, it is also better to avoid getting injured to begin with. 

In this article, we will go over the steps you can take to make sure that you can prevent a back injury when working as a nurse.

Never lift alone

One of the top reasons that back injuries happen is that people lift more than they are able to. This can cause a muscle strain in the lower back that inflames and causes a lot of pain due to the pressure on your lower lumbar area. The key is to never lift more than you can handle which means always asking for a lifting buddy.

Turning patients over is one of the leading causes of back injuries among nurses. Often it is done alone since there are not as many nurses per patient as there should be. Try to not do this on your own and stop and ask another nurse or orderly for help to avoid the risk of straining your back.

It seems faster to just grab onto a box or whatever needs to be lifted or moved on your own and just get it done. Nobody wants to waste precious time so looking for a lifting buddy often looks like it will take longer than actually just getting on with moving the item. Think about how long it takes to recover from back pain and you will see that it is a far better use of time to search for somebody to help you than to go it alone. 

Get plenty of rest

This is easier said than done as the schedule of most nurses is very chaotic. However, it is important to get enough rest when you can. When you are underslept you are not only not physically as strong as you need to be to avoid an injury, but you are also going to make poor decisions. 

You may decide to push through the pain to get something done in a rush because you aren’t thinking clearly. This could lead to an injury that wouldn’t have happened had you been properly rested. 

Rest will also allow your body to recover from the physical stresses it has gone through the day before. Without this time for your body to heal from the strains the muscles and tendons went through, you are risking straining yourself needlessly. A tired body that hasn’t recovered is an accident waiting to happen. 

Set boundaries

There will be times when you are asked to do work that is going to raise the risk of an injury. It could be that you are asked to move some boxes, or that you don’t follow a certain protocol that would involve some risky behavior. 

It is important to set boundaries of what you are willing to do and what you refuse in order to keep your health intact. It’s ok to say no to requests that will put your health in jeopardy. After all, if you end up with a back injury you are not just putting your health at risk, but also your livelihood. You are not obligated to engage in risky behavior at a manager’s request. 

Get plenty of exercise

It may seem like you already get plenty of exercise since your job is very physical. Although that is true when you work out you are able to focus on the areas that need to be strengthened so you can work better and keep your back strong. 

For instance, your core strength is essential to keeping your back in good shape. If you were to strengthen your core, then you can do a lot more without risking injury quite as much. Going to the gym and having an exercise routine that focuses on building core strength is going to protect your back and wouldn’t happen by just relying on the physical nature of your job. 

Doing yoga will also help to reduce the risk of injuring your back since it gives you a lot of flexibility. It also aids in a quick recovery from other physically straining activities like the kind you experience at work. 

Get frequent massages

Any type of physical work like being a nurse is going to make the muscles very tight. Tight muscles are far more prone to being strained than loose ones. As a result, they become inflamed and the ones that are in the back will put pressure on the nerves causing back pain. 

This is why massage is so important when you work as a nurse. It may seem like you are pampering yourself to get a massage at least once per month, but it is more of a necessity than an indulgence. When you are having your muscles in your back worked on by a professional masseuse, you will have more relaxed muscles that are less likely to strain themselves due to the stress on your back. 

You may even be able to get your insurance to pay for it so check to see what is covered in your policy for this type of physical therapy. If you do have to pay out of pocket then it is very likely that you can write it off as a work expense and deduct the cost from your taxes. In other words, it won’t be as expensive as you think to get regular massages.