Tiina Freimann will defend her doctoral thesis titled „Musculoskeletal pain among nurses: prevalence, risk factors, and intervention“ on 28 April 2017 at 14:00.
Professor Mati Pääsuke (University of Tartu);
Associate Professor Eda Merisalu (Estonian University of Life Sciences).
Professor Maija Eglīte (MD, Dr hab med ), Head of the Department Faculty of Medicine, Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Rīga Stradiņš University, Läti.
Musculoskeletal pain (MSP) is the most prevalent and unresolved problem amongst European workforce, with the highest risk being among hospital staff, including nurses. MSP impairs how nurses manage their work and reduces their quality of life significantly, causing physical, psychological, and social problems. A decrease in nurses’ working ability and absenteeism as a result of acute or chronic MSP are costly. Nurses’ incapacity to work causes a substantial financial strain on Estonian economy, which has an ageing population. The aim of this doctoral thesis is to explain the prevalence and possible risk factors of MSP among nurses, and to estimate the effect of home based exercise training therapy. Home based exercises training therapy specifically targets the range of motion of the vertebral column in the neck and lumbar the regions, in order to prevent or decrease MSP among nurses. Data was collected from 686 nurses of the Tartu University Hospital, Estonia, during three studies. The first study was carried out in the framework of an international study. The results from all studies are published in international scientific journals. The studies show that the prevalence of MSP among nurses is high (70–85%). The most common being in the lower back (56–57%) and neck (52–56%) regions. 60–61% of nurses experienced MSP in two or more body regions. Nurses’ age and poor health were related with the prevalence of MSP in one or multiple regions. Stress, burn outs, and psychosomatic symptoms increased the probability of MSP. The most significant risk factors for developing MSP were carrying weights and working in a forced position. The most important psychosocial risk factors were attributed to the fast pace and emotional demands of the work. Dissatisfaction with work and e.g. work-family life conflict also raised the risk of pain. The results of the intervention show that the home based exercise training therapy improved the range of motion of nurses’ vertebral column in the neck and lumbar regions significantly. In addition, the home based exercise training therapy increased the range of motion in the neck region of the vertebral column in all movement directions and in the lumbar region when bending forward. The largest effect in the range of motion in the neck region of the vertebral column was achieved when flexing forward (26%). This doctoral thesis has an important practical value as risks associated with MSP can be reduced with precautionary activities. Based on the given research, the workload, working pace and emotional load of nurses should be monitored, and the quality of leadership should be improved. Positive results from the interventional studies encourage using home based exercise training therapy in order to prevent and reduce MSP.