Spinal shrinkage during a seated break and standing break during simulated nursing tasks.


Prevalence rates for back pain in nurses are comparable to rates of workers in heavy industry. Spinal loading is one factor thought to be associated with the onset of back problems. Loading can be measured indirectly using precision stadiometry, with changes in stature indicating the magnitude of the loading over time. Ten female subjects completed 4 h of simulated nursing activities on two separate occasions. The two trials were identical except that subjects were asked to sit for a 20-min break in one and stand for a 20-min break in the other trial. Heart rate, discomfort, rating of perceived exertion and spinal shrinkage were recorded at various intervals throughout testing. Spinal shrinkage was significantly less during the seated trial than the standing trial (p<0.05). It is suggested that a seated break during a nursing shift may reduce the potential of suffering back problems resulting from spinal loading.


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