Assessment of pressure pain threshold at the cervical and lumbar spine region in the group of professionally active nurses: A cross-sectional study

J Occup Health. 2020 Jan;62(1):e12108. doi: 10.1002/1348-9585.12108.


Objectives: The problem of spinal pain among nurses and lack of compliance with workplace ergonomy is increasing. The study aimed to assess the pressure pain threshold (PPT) at the cervical and lumbar spine in nursing staff.

Methods: The sample of this prospective and observational study consisted of 30 female nurses with a mean age of 38.6 ± 11.1 years. The standardized Oswestry (ODI) and the Neck Disability Index (NDI) were used, as well as the Authors' Designed Questionnaire (ADQ) was used to assess compliance with ergonomic principles. The PPT analysis using a computerized pressure algometer (CPA) was performed to examine the level of PPT.

Results: A mild disability was found in 56% of nurses (NDI and ODI). A value of <4 kg/cm2 (CPA), indicating musculoskeletal overload was observed in 57% of subjects. Also, 60% of nurses work with a lying patient; 73.4% grabs the patient's armpits while transferring in bed; 16.7% never adjusts the height of the bed, and only 13.4% choose specialist footwear for work. There is a correlation between PPT values for trapezius and erector spinae muscles on the same side of the body in nurses with mild and moderate disability (P < .05).

Conclusions: Pain complaints are associated with lower PPT of trapezius and erector spinae muscles and asymmetry of muscle tension. Also, it was noted that the lack of implementation of ergonomic principles by nursing staff affects their degree of disability.

Keywords: computerized pressure algometry; nursing practice; oswestry and neck disability index; pressure pain threshold; spinal pain syndromes; workplace ergonomy.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / physiopathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck Pain / physiopathology*
  • Nurses*
  • Pain Threshold*
  • Pressure
  • Prospective Studies