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You are here : 3-RX.com > Home > Backache - Obesity - Weight Loss -

Obese patients ‘increasing back pain among nurses’

Backache • • Obesity • • Weight LossApr 02, 07

A rise in the number of obese patients on wards could be causing thousands of NHS nurses to seek treatment for back pain, according to experts.

About 5,000 nurses are currently being treated for back pain following a surge in patients’ weights and the number of patients a nurse has to care for, according to the British Chiropractic Association.

Dr Matthew Bennett, a member of the BCA who has been a chiropractor for 20 years, said: “There are thousands of nurses with work-related back pain and I think this could increase in the future.

“A lot do not turn up in official statistics because it affects employment status.

“The weight of patients is a contributory factor to back pain. It’s not just a weight issue - it’s a fitness issue with people unable to turn themselves over easily.”

Dr Tim Hutchful, another BCA chiropractor who has been practising 18 years, said: “I think the number of nurses with back pain will probably increase in the future as people get bigger.

Unions also say workloads and a rise in patients’ weight are impacting heavily on the health of NHS staff.

Barrie Brown, Amicus’ Lead Officer for Nursing, said: “We are aware of this as an extensive problem because muscular skeletal problems are the biggest reason for people retiring on grounds of ill health from the NHS.”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said: “The department advises that staff should avoid manual handling. No one working in a hospital, nursing home, or community setting should need to put their safety at risk when lifting patients manually. Manual handling of patients should only continue if it does not involve a risk of injury from lifting most or all of a patient’s weight.”

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