The prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders and low back pain among Italian nurses: An observational study. Low Back Pain Among Italian Nurses

Main Article Content

Roberto Latina
Antonio Petruzzo
Pascal Vignally
Maria Sofia Cattaruzza
Carlo Vetri Buratti
Lucia Mitello
Diana Giannarelli
Daniela D'Angelo


Prevalence, Nurse, Low Back Pain, Musculoskeletal Disorder, Risk Factors, Italy


Background and aim of the work: Musculoskeletal disorders and low back pain have negative impact amongst Italian nurses who work in hospital. Nursing staff are known to be at risk of developing back disorders, where low back pain has a prevalence from 16% to 60% in the world. This study aims to determine the prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders and low back pain among nurses who working in a Roman hospital. Methods: Cross sectional study was carried out in an Italian hospital and the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire-IRSST was administered to 256 registered nurses. Logistic regression analyses were performed to understand risk factors associated with pain. Results: Nurses reported different locations of pain related to musculoskeletal disorders. The prevalence of low back pain was 90.2% during life, 80% during the last year and 44.5% during the last week. Female sex increases the risk of being affected by low back pain (OR = 2.07, 95% CI= 1.00-4.32). Conclusions: Musculoskeletal disorders and low back pain are reported by the majority of nurses interviewed, and a higher prevalence is observed in women. Pain does not depend on the amount of years of work, nor on age or body mass index. In order to assess the prevalence of low back pain carefully, it is recommended to study a greater number of Italian nurses in different hospitals.


Download data is not yet available.
Abstract 348 | PDF Downloads 127


1. Karahan A, Kav S, Abbasoglu A, DoganN.Low back pain: prevalence and associated risk factors among hospital staff. J AdvNurs2009;65(3):516–524.
2. Matsudaira K, Palmer K, Reading I, Hirai M, Yoshimura N, Coggon D. Prevalence and correlates of regional pain and associated disability in Japanese workers. Occup Environ Med 2011;68(3):191– 196.
3. Murray CJ, Vos T, Lozano R, Naghavi M, Flaxman AD, Michaud C, et al. Disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) for 291 diseases and injuries in 21 regions, 1990–2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. Lancet 2012;380(9859):2197–2223. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)61689-4.
4. Ellapen TJ, Narsigan S. Work related musculoskeletal disorders among nurses: systematic review. J Ergon 2014;S4:S4–003. doi:10.4172/2165-7556.S4-003.
5. Smith DR, Ohmura K, Yamagata Z, Minai J. Musculoskeletal disorders among female nurses in a rural Japanese hospital. Nurs Health Sci 2003;5(3):185–188.
6. Smith DR, Wei N, Kang L &Wang RS. Musculoskeletal disorders among professional nurses in mainland China. J Prof Nurs 2004;20:390–395
7. Simon M, Tackenberg P, Nienhaus A, Estryn-Behar M, Conway PM, Hasselhorn HM. Back or neck-pain-related disability ofnursing staff in hospitals, nursing homes and home care in sevencountries-results from the European NEXT-Study. Int J Nurs Stud 2008;45(1):24–34.
8. Lorusso A, Bruno S, L' Abbate N. A review of low back pain and musculoskeletal. Ind Health 2007;45(5):637-44.
9. Nirel N, Riba S, Reicher S, TorenO. Registered nurses in Israel-work force employment characteristics and projected supply. Isr J Health Policy Res 2012;1(1):11.
10. Fronteira I, Ferrinho P: Do nurses have a different physical health profile? A systematic review of experimental and observational studies on nurses’ physical health. J Clin Nurs 2011; 20:2404–2424. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2011.03721.x.
11. Krismer M, van Tulder M. Project Low Back Pain Group of the Bone and Joint Health Stategies for Europe. Stategies for prevention and management of musculoskeletal conditions. Low back pain (non-specific). Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol 2007;21(1):77-91.
12. Bergström G, Bodin L, Hagberg J, Lindh T, Aronsson G, Josephson M. Does sickness presenteeism have an impact on future general health? Int Arch Occup Environ Health 2009;82(10):1179-1190.doi: 10.1007/s00420-009-0433-6.
13. Hemp P. Presenteeism: at work - but out of it. Harv Bus Rev 2004;82(10):49-58.
14. Kivimäki M, Head J, Ferrie J, Hemingway H, Shipley M, Vahtera J, et al. Working while ill as a risk factor for serious coronary events: the Whitehall II study. Am J Public Health 2005;95(1):98-102.
15. Sikiru L, Hanifa S. Prevalence and risk factor of low back pain among nurses in a typical Nigerian hospital. Afr Health Sci 2010;10(1):26-30.
16. Violante F, Fiori M, Fiorentini C, Risi A, Garagnani G, Bonfiglioli R, et al. Association s of phychosocial and individual factors with three different categories of back disorder among nursing staff. J Occup Health, 2004;46:100-108.
17. Ghilan K, Al-Taiar A, Al Yousfi N, Al Zubaidi R, Awadh I, Al-Obeyed Z. Low back pain amongfemalenurses in Yemen. Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2013;26(4):605-614. doi: 10.2478/s13382-013-0124-0.
18. Corona G, Monduzzi G, Minerva M, Amedei F, Franco G. Individual, ergonomic and psychosocial risk factors affect musculoskeletal disorders in nurses, physiotherapists and VDU users. G Ital Med Lav Erg 2004; 26(suppl):201-202.
19. Martinelli S, Artioli G, Vincenti M, Bergomi M, Bussolanti N, Camellini R, et al. Low back pain risk in nurses and its prevention. Prof Inferm2004;57:238-242.
20. Lin P, Tsai Y, Chen W, Huang S. Prevalence, characteristics, and work related risk factors of low back pain among hospital nurses in Taiwan: a cross-sectional survey. Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2012;25(1):41-50.doi: 10.2478/s13382-012-0008-8.
21. Von Elm E, Altman DG, Egger M, Pocock SJ, Gøtzsche PC, Vandenbroucke JP. The Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) statement: guidelines for reporting observationalstudies. Gaceta Sanitaria, 2008;22(2):144-150.
22. Gobba F, Ghersi R, Martinelli S, Richeldi A, Clerici P, Grazioli P. Italian translation and validation of the Nordic IRSST standardized questionnaire for the analysis of musculoskeletal symptoms. Med Lav 2008;99(6):424-443.
23. World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe. Body max index-BMI. (2019). Available from: Access July 05, 2019.
24. Federazione Nazionale Ordine Professioni Infermieristiche. Gli infermieri in Italia: quanti sono, che età hanno e come sono distribuiti. Available from: Accessed October 07,2019.
25. Vos T, FlaxmanAD, Naghavi M, Lozano R, Michaud C, Ezzati M, et al. Yearslived with disability (YLDs) for 1160 sequelae of 289 diseases and injuries 1990-2010: a systematic analysis for the global burden of disease study 2010. Lancet2012;380(9859):2163–2196.doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)61729-2.
26. Bernal D, Campos-Serna J, Tobias A, Vargas-Prada S, Benavides FG, Serra C. Work-related psychosocial risk factors and musculoskeletal disorders in hospital nurses and nursing aides: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Int JNursStud2015;52:635–648.doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2014.11.003.
27. Latina R, De Marinis MG, Giordano F, Osborn JF, Giannarelli D, Di Biagio E, et al.Epidemiology of chronic pain in the Latium Region, Italy: a cross-sectional study on the clinical characteristics of patients attending pain clinics. Pain Manag Nurs. 2019;20(4):373-381.doi: 10.1016/j.pmn.2019.01.005.
28. Golabadi M, Attarachi M, Raeisi S, Namvar M. Effects of psychosocial strain on back symptoms in Tehran general hospital nursing personnel. Arh Hig Rada Toksikol 2013;64(4):505–12. doi: 10.2478/10004-1254-64-2013-2366.
29. Boughattas W, El Maalel O, Maoua M, Bougmiza I, Kalboussi H., Brahem A, et al. Low back pain among nurses: prevalence, and occupational risk factors. Occupational Diseases and Environmental Medicine2017;5: 26- 37.doi: 10.4236/odem.2017.51003.
30. da Cruz Fernandes IM, Zambelli Pinto R, Ferreira P, Santos Lira F. Low back pain, obesity, and inflammatory markers: exercise as potential. J Exerc Rehabil 2018;14(2):168-174.
31. Santos HEC, Marziale MHP, Felli VEA. Presenteeism and musculoskeletal symptoms among nursing professionals. Rev Latino-Am Enfermagem 2018;26:e3006. doi: 10.1590/1518-8345.2185.3006.
32. Josephson M, Largerstrom M, Hagberg M, Hjelm EW: Musculoskeletal symptoms and job strainamong nursing personnel: a study over a three year period. Occup Environ Med 1997,52:47-57.
33. Niedhammer I, Lert F, Marne MJ: Back pain and associated factors in French nurses. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 1994,66:394-357.
34. Tinubu BM, Mbada CE, Oyeyemi AL, Fabunmi AA. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders among nurses in Ibadan, South-west Nigeria: a cross-sectionalsurvey. BMC MusculoskeletDisord2010;11:12. doi: 10.1186/1471-2474-11-12.
35. Bernal D, Campos-Serna J, Tobias A, Vargas-Prada S, Benavides FG, Serra C. Work-related psychosocial risk factors and musculoskeletal disorders in hospital nurses and nursing aides: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Nurs Stud 2015;52:635–648.doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2014.11.003.
36. Anap DB, Iyer C, Rao K. Work related musculoskeletal disorders among hospital nurses in rural Maharashtra, India. International Journal of Research In Medical Sciences, 2013;1(2):101-107. doi: 10.5455/2320-6012.ijrms20130513.
37. Istituto Nazionale per l'Assicurazione contro gli Infortuni sul Lavoro (INAIL). I disturbi muscolo scheletrici lavorativi. La prevenzione. 2012.
38. Maul I, Laubli T, Klipstein A, Krueger A. Course of low back pain among nurses: a longitudinal study across eight years. Occup Environ Med 2003;60(7):497–503.
39. Health at a Glance 2017 OECD Indicators. Available from: Access July 07, 2020.
40. Marti F, Giannarelli D, Mitello L, Fabriani L, Latina R, Mauro L. Correlation between work engagement and burnout amongregisterednurses: an Italian hospital survey. Prof Inferm 2019;72(1):42-49.doi: 10.7429/pi.2019.72042.

Most read articles by the same author(s)