Work-related low-back problems in nursing

Scand J Work Environ Health. 1998 Dec;24(6):449-64. doi: 10.5271/sjweh.369.


This scientific literature review focuses on the relation between nursing work and low-back problems. Its aim was to estimate the risk of physical, psychosocial, and work organizational exposure factors that may lead to low-back problems. In addition this paper reviews and evaluates reported ergonomic intervention, with the object of decreasing the prevalence and incidence of low-back problems among nurses. A considerable number of studies of nursing staff has shown the connection between lifts and transfers of patients on one hand and low-back problems on the other. Factors in nursing work that may be significant in this connection are staff density and work satisfaction. In this review the single individual factor that was indisputably related to low-back problems was "history of back problems". Prevention programs do not show unequivocally positive results. There is a great need to carry out prospective studies with preventive programs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ergonomics
  • Humans
  • Lifting / adverse effects
  • Low Back Pain / epidemiology
  • Low Back Pain / prevention & control*
  • Low Back Pain / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurses / statistics & numerical data*
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Occupational Diseases / psychology
  • Risk Factors
  • Workload