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How to Stop Nurse CLBP With Mind-Body Exercises

How to Stop Nurse CLBP With Mind-Body Exercises

Chronic low back pain (CLBP) among nurses is a growing health concern. According to the American Nurse Association, 52 percent of nurses report experiencing chronic back pain. [1] How to stop nurse CLBP with mind-body exercises is something I’ve been thinking about ever since I had a conversation with a nurse friend of mind who injured her back pulling a patient back up who was leaning out of a bed. First a few facts you should know.

Nurse practicing Yoga
Nurse and Yoga

Nursing is the fifth largest occupation in the United States (U.S.) and ranks as the largest of the healthcare professions. [2]

Since back problems in nurses are so prevalent, if you are a nurse  you may wonder what the options are for treatment other than surgery. As one noted doctor  puts it :

“In the end, no matter what type of back specialist you choose, be sure to choose one that is dedicated to conservative measures first. From stretching to adjustments to decompression therapy, the solution for back pain isn’t always spinal fusion surgery. In fact, it very rarely is the answer.” [3]

As one registered nurse puts it:

“…more and more working nurses (both shift workers and non) are finding there is a need to engage in some form of mind-body practice in the workplace. Calming the mind and rejuvenating the body is highly effective practice, can enhance the work experience, and may prevent burnout in the long run. After all, when work stress takes its toll on the mental self, it begins to undoubtedly affect the physical body as well.” [4]

Yoga and Tai chi are two increasingly popular mind-body exercises that show promise for the management or treatment of low back pain. Yoga aims to improve physical and emotional balance through the use of postures and breathing techniques. Tai chi, a practice based on slow intentional movements, often coordinated with breathing and imagery, aims to strengthen and relax the physical body and mind [5]

This is How The Mind -Body Exercise  of  Yoga  Stops CLBP

Even if you’re not a nurse, the video below will show you how to regroup and recharge your spirit and body as necessary for your sanity.

LBP has been associated with weakness in the lower extremities, and several studies have shown that Yoga can increase muscular strength and joint flexibility among patients with low back pain [6]

Mind-Body Exercise of Yoga Stops CLBP by Reducing Stress

Consider this account from a nurse who felt the stress of the job.

“ I was a nurse. I liked caring for people, and I felt proud to do the job. But it was also an extremely stressful job, I was constantly extremely anxious with the pressure. What if I make a medical mistake? what it my patient dies? what if… It’s well know that nurses are very busy with lots of patients and work to do… The stress of the responsibility and constant worry over how many patients I had, and whether I could get all my work done in time, whether iI might make a mistake… it was destroying me.”—Nurse From On The Job Stress Forum

Two published studies evaluating eight-week interventions of yoga exercises among nurses with stress. Results showed that nurses had significantly lower levels of stress and significantly increased confidence in their ability to cope at treatment conclusion (8 weeks) and long-term follow-up (12 months). [7]

Mind-Body Exercise of  Tai chi Stops CLBP by Improving Core Strength

Lets be real. Because of the constant crazy schedule, some nurses may step outside during their break to consume loads of junk food, and that may result in unhealthy weight gain and a weak core. Tai chi is  effective in improving core strength because the core area of the back plays an important role in supporting most of the movements. A strong core means less load on the spine and less chance of back pain.

Nurses are like shock absorbers. They absorb the entire negative aura from the environment and from the people in the work place. [8]

The Faces of The Nurses

Nurse describing pressure of job
Nurse describing pressure of job
A nurse describing her mission
A Nurse describing her mission



This would be an incomplete post if I didn’t acknowledge the busy and unusual work schedules  of nurses. As one nurse states, “You may be asking yourself, how can I ever practice yoga when call lights are beeping, doctors are calling on the phone, and families and patients are restless for answers?”  Well, what if on yoga and /or tai chi was at the worksite? This would be a perfect integration of  physical health and emotional  wellness. While you certainly have learned a lot about nurses and mind-body exercises to stop back pain. We’ve only really just scratched the surface when it comes to the larger issue of nurses and CLBP. And that’s why I’d like to conclude by pointing out a resource you can use to help you get a very comprehensive view of this topic. Thanks for checking in.

If you want to learn more about nurses and CLBP at the job, then you’ll want to read


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I like to hear from the readers so please leave me a comment below to let me know if this post helped you or if you have any questions.




Occupational Employment and Wages,




P. M. Wayne and T. J. Kaptchuk, “Challenges inherent to T’ai Chi research: part I—T’ai Chi as a complex multicomponent intervention,” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 95–102, 2008.


K. A. Carneiro and J. D. Rittenberg, “The role of exercise and alternative treatments for low back pain,” Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 777–792, 2010.


C. D. N. Rasmussen, A. Holtermann, O. S. Mortensen, K. Søgaard, and M. B. Jørgensen, “Prevention of low back pain and its consequences among nurses’ aides in elderly care: a stepped-wedge multi-faceted cluster-randomized controlled trial,” BMC Public Health, vol. 13, no. 1, article 1088, 2013.


8 thoughts on “How to Stop Nurse CLBP With Mind-Body Exercises

  1. A very interesting article. I had no idea there was so much written about this topic.
    There’s no denying that low back pain can be assuaged with yoga and Tai Chi.
    My chiropractor recommends these all the time!

    1. Dianne,
      I think training in nursing school will eventually include curricula on stress management and the potential of mind-body exercises for the prevention and management of CLBP among nurses. I think Yoga and Tai Chi training will become an important part of nurse’s training in the future–especially those that work in trauma units. Thanks for checking in.

  2. I was a CRRN (Certification in Rehab) I loved my job. It was very physically and mentally demanding. I did 12-hour shifts and was pretty tired after a shift. However, my back problem was not from working as a nurse! I actually had an accident with a four wheeler!
    However, I do Bodyflow which is a combination of Thi Chi and Yoga and can say I am pretty pain-free today! These exercises actually keep me out of pain.It works!

    1. Hi Cynthia,
      I am, of course, aware of the benefits of Tai Chi and Yoga, but this is the first time I have heard of Bodyflow. It makes perfect sense to combine the two mind-body exercises for a more efficient workout. Thanks for checking in.


  3. Hello.
    I am by no means a nurse. But, I have been looking into different ways to help get rid of lower back pain. I never realized how much Yoga and Tai Chi could help out so much with this. Thank you so much seems like I got a little research to work on now.

    1. Hi Melissa,
      My mom suffers from back pain so I know how frustrating that can be. My desire to help her and other pain sufferers led me to create a website where I could help people find information that will enable them to better manage their back pain. Yoga and Tai Chi have proven them to be great mind-body solutions to combatting back pain. In fact I have a friend who practices Body flow, which is a combination of Tai Chi and Yoga. She says the exercises have worked to keep her pain free. You might also want to include Body flow into your research. Thanks for checking in. I wish you luck.

  4. Really great article Thabo. I never actually thought about it but nurses have a really hard job. And I see more and more people going to that field. We have to have them so we better find a way to take care of them. Nurses need strong backs to do their jobs.

    1. Hello Fred,
      You are right. Nurses do need strong backs to do their jobs. I hope going forward that more hospital administrators take that into consideration and see if they can make nurses’s jobs less stressful on the back. Thanks for checking in.

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