As a health care worker, you may engage in heavy lifting throughout the day. Over time, this may lead to serious, debilitating back and musculoskeletal injuries. In some cases, these injuries may wind up being so severe that they prevent you from working, hurting you financially. They may, too, lead to chronic pain and associated medical hardships, which may have a serious and substantial impact on your quality of life. 

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, injuries caused or exacerbated by heavy lifting are common among many types of health care employees. 

Careers with large lift-related injury risks

Nurses and nursing assistants face a particularly high-risk of injuries caused by heavy lifting, with nursing assistants suffering the second-highest number of musculoskeletal disorders. Other medical professionals who face a high risk of these injuries include long-term care workers, acute care workers, home health aides, radiologists, sonographers and physical therapists. 

Common lifting-related injuries

While some lifting-related injuries are minor, others are far more serious. Sprains and strains are the most common lifting-related injuries suffered by individuals in your line of work. The majority who suffer these injuries experience them in their lower backs or shoulders. 

Associated consequences

While a serious musculoskeletal injury or disorder may lead to chronic pain, it may also impact your desire to remain in health care. As many as one-fifth of today’s nurses who wind up leaving direct health care positions say they do so because of the injury risks involved in their jobs. 

Find more about lifting-related injuries and others affecting today’s health care workforce on our webpage.