The Association between Workplace Ergonomic Factors and Low Back Pain-related Disability among Nurses in Sri Lanka

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2023

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Abstract

Low back pain disability (LBPD) is a pervasive health issue among nurses due to their high exposure of ergonomic risk factors in the workplace. Moderate or severe low back pain disability might impair their work performance and impact daily activities. However, limited study has done among Sri Lankan nurses, who are unprotected by workplace health regulations. Thus, this study aimed to estimate the prevalence of moderate or severe LBPD among nurses in Teaching Hospital Karapitiya (THK), Sri Lanka. Additionally, the study sought to explore the association between workplace ergonomic exposures and moderate or severe LBPD.

This cross-sectional study enrolled 200 registered nurses from multiple wards at THK, Sri Lanka in 2022. Measures of interest in the study survey included sample characteristics, workplace ergonomic risk factors, physical activity level, and LBPD level. The data analysis was conducted in two steps. After describing the occurrence of ergonomic risk factors (correlates: lifting more than 20kg loads, bending trunk, long-time sitting, and frequent repetitive movements) and LBPD level (outcome variable) stratified by those correlates, the logistic regression model was built to examine the associations between above workplace ergonomic correlates and moderate or severe LBPD. Both unadjusted and adjusted models, controlling for nurses’ BMI, service years, education, and physical activity level, are reported as odds ratio and 95% confidence interval.

As a result, the prevalence of moderate or severe LBPD was 18.5% among the study sample. All workplace ergonomic factors were positively associated with greater odds ratios of moderate or severe LBPD, compared to the non-exposure group. The odds ratio of LBPD was significantly increased from frequent repetitive movements (adjusted odds ratio (AOR): 3.17, CI: 1.45-6.89) to lift more than 20kg loads (AOR: 3.64 CI: 1.52-8.73).

These results highlight the problem of moderate or severe LBPD among nurses in Sri Lanka. The result may be attributed to bridge the gap of the leading causes of LBPD among nurses and the findings suggest the need to improving LBPD awareness and policy changes to achieve workplace health. Further studies on large-scale study with the aim of developing a theoretical model in the field of study are needed to provide more empirical evidence and theoretical foundation on the burden of LBPD among nurses.

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Liang, Kunyuan (2023). The Association between Workplace Ergonomic Factors and Low Back Pain-related Disability among Nurses in Sri Lanka. Master's thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/27784.

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