We hate to break it to you - but as a nurse you're almost guaranteed to suffer from back pain at some point in your career.
Assuming, of course, you haven't already.
(Really, who hasn't?)
Anyway, studies show that anywhere between 50-85% of nurses report having "moderate to severe" back pain at some point in their career!
This is a horrifying statistic!!
Back pain adds up to a lot of stress, aggravation, and often times even missed days at work.
One nurse told us her story:
"I had no major aches or pains for the longest time. But one day I was at the nurses' station when I heard a bed alarm go off."
"I ran quickly into my patient's room to stop him from falling. I had to run in and bear hug him into his bed. Had I got there a second late he would have fallen and it would have been ugly."
"Unfortunately I managed to throw out my back entirely in the process. I admit I don't exercise as much as I should, but I've never been hurt so badly before. Anyway it was so bad I barely made it through my shift. I had to visit my doctor and take painkillers and miss work for several weeks, and when I came back I still would get twinges of back pain"
Seriously - ouch. This is a real problem in our profession.
We might not be professional athletes, but as nurses, our livelihoods are very connected to how our bodies perform.
But the good news is that like anything else, you can empower yourself to prevent or heal back pain.
So let's listen to what she did - and what YOU can do to prevent back pain as simply and effectively as possible, with the 4 most effective tips for nurses.
Use Proper Body Mechanics when lifting
We'll start with a tip you've no doubt heard before in nursing school, and is hopefully reinforced at work.
(But let's be real, it's easily forgotten about!)
Any time you lift anything, you really have to use proper body mechanics.
We don't say this to preach - or sound like a boring nursing school textbook.
But if you want to preserve your back, you really have to turn good body mechanics into a habit.
You get used to doing it, then you never have to consciously consider it again.
So real quick!
Proper mechanics include:
- Keep your spine aligned (BIG KEY!). When lifting - keep your chest out, your back in a neutral position (not over or under-arched), and lift weight with your much stronger leg muscles. Many want to look up or down, but this isn't a good habit because it keeps your spine out of alignment.
- Keeping the object close to you. This is very important! This allows you to use your maximum leverage and strength, while avoiding unnecessary back bending. If you pick up an object and it's far away from your body, you end up using your weaker arm muscles, bending your back, etc. So keep things CLOSE!
- Don't twist or bend at the waist: This can throw your back out of alignment, and it's a huge no-no when you are carrying something heavy. Basically, just make sure your feet are facing the direction of what you're carrying, and keep your back aligned!
- Bending at your knees: Many bend their back which is a no-no (see next tip). You want to bend at your knees so you're using your leg muscles.
- Bracing your core. Seriously, this is one of those "life hacks" for protecting your back! This is really important and actually very easy once you get it down. You can practice this right now. Flex your abdominal muscles while breathing into your diaphragm as best as possible for at least a few good breaths. Keeping your abdominals braced like this keeps your back straight, and this is best done any time you lift something heavy. See the video below, compliment of MoveU on YouTube.
Strengthen Your Lower Body, Especially Your Glutes
You may know that your legs are the strongest muscle group in your body, and that no matter how strong your upper body is, it simply can't compare to your legs.
But did you also know that a lot of back pain is caused by weak, under activated glutes?
And that if you have strong, activated glutes your back pain can "magically" vanish?
We're 100% serious about this - and we've seen and heard countless stories.
Countless well known fitness trainers all around the world, including the popular Bret Contreras, will tell you the same.
Strong activated glutes = goodbye to most forms of back pain!
One technique that requires no equipment to activate your glutes is called the glute bridge.
To do this technique, simply lie down, put your arms side by side, press your hips forward in the air, and squeeze your glutes together. Hold for a few seconds, then rest to a lying position.
Do this for at least several sets of 10 repetitions.
This will activate your glutes and can be done every morning, or any other time of day you'd like.
After some practice, you'll feel yourself walking "with your glutes more" and being more conscious of using them. This is a good thing!
Now, to better strengthen your glutes, the best way is to use equipment and a structured program.
But no worries, this is just one reason we've created the Nurse's Only "Booty in 30 Days!" program.
It's not just to make your booty look awesome (although that's a huge plus!)...
It's there to stop years of back pain from adding up and making your life..well...miserable. And it can easily be done from the comfort of your home in just a few 10-15 minute workouts a week!
Do a form of self massage
Now, the above tips will help prevent the vast majority of back pain.
But sometimes, despite all your best intentions, you still get aches and pains.
We bet you never considered this - this actually is a really effective technique to relieve your own back pain, complement of Gavin Burt on YouTube:
This is a very effective technique.
Of course, you can get your partner or another nurse to massage your back too!
Correct your posture.
Lastly, whether you've been following us for a while or this is the first time you've heard of us...
We're HUGE proponents of awesome posture!
Posture correction is absolutely essential, and unfortunately is a huge problem in society. And nurses are not excluded.
So here's what we'll say about this...
First, true posture correction takes time.
In the short to medium term, you can begin to correct your posture with a posture corrector. We've sold over 10,000 of the most comfortable one on the market designed for nurse's needs, known as the Babe Brace.
However, while it helps you in a pinch, can often fix back and neck pain right away, and it shows you what great posture feels like - we suggest you don't use it forever.
That's because in the long term, you want to correct your posture on your own.
For this, we have an awesome program that can give awesome posture in a short time, that we sell for a discount when combined with our Babe Brace.
We sincerely hope that this article helped give you some useful techniques to relieve back pain.
After all, correcting nurses' problems is what we're here for!
We sincerely hope that our article helped you out!
Please share this article with anyone who needs it - and stay safe and stay healthy! We need you out there!