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Scandinavian Journal of Pain

Official Journal of the Scandinavian Association for the Study of Pain

Editor-in-Chief: Breivik, Harald

4 Issues per year

CiteScore 2017: 0.84

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.401
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.452

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Volume 11, Issue 1

Pain-related factors associated with lost work days in nurses with low back pain: A cross-sectional study

Saurab Sharma
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Physiotherapy, Kathmandu University School of Medical Sciences, Dhulikhel, Nepal
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Nischal Shrestha
  • Department of Physiotherapy, Dhulikhel Hospital Kathmandu University Hospital, Dhulikhel, Nepal
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Mark P. Jensen
Published Online: 2016-04-01 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sjpain.2015.11.007


Background and aims

Chronic low back pain is known to contribute to lost work days (LWDs) in nurses. However, there is a limited understanding of the factors that moderate the impact of low back pain (LBP) on LWDs – in particular factors that are modifiable and that could therefore be the treatment targets of interventions designed to help nurses more effectively manage LBP.

This study aims to identify pain-related factors that are associated with LWDs in nurses with LBP, in order to inform the development of interventions that could reduce LBP-related work dysfunction and improve patient care.


A cross sectional study was conducted on 111 female nurses who were asked to answer questions regarding demographic information, work history, presence or absence of LBP, number of LWDs due to illness, and a number of factors that could potentially be related to LWDs including: (1) average and worst pain intensity; (2) the temporal pattern of LBP (constant versus intermittent); (3) pain aggravating factors (lifting, bending, walking, and standing); and (4) pain alleviating factors (medications, rest, exercise).


Sixty-five percent (n = 72) of the sample reported LBP. Constancy of pain and having a LBP problem that was alleviated by rest were significantly associated with the number of LWDs, while maximum and average LBP intensity were only weakly associated.


The findings provide important new information regarding whatis (and of equal importance) what is not associated with LWDs in nurses with LBP.


To effectively reduce LBP-related work disability, interventions may need to teach nurses how to better manage constant pain and remain active despite pain, rather than focus on pain reduction. Research to examine the potential efficacy of such treatment approaches for nurses with LBP is warranted.

Keywords: Constant pain; Health Personnel; Nursing; Passive coping; Sick leave; Sickness absence


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About the article

Department of Physiotherapy, Kathmandu University School of Medical Sciences, Dhulikhel Hospital Kathmandu University Hospital, P.O. Box No. 11008, Dhulikhel, Nepal. Tel.: +977 9841634043; fax:+977 1 490707

Received: 2015-07-31

Revised: 2015-10-09

Accepted: 2015-11-13

Published Online: 2016-04-01

Published in Print: 2016-04-01

Conflict of interest: None.

Citation Information: Scandinavian Journal of Pain, Volume 11, Issue 1, Pages 27–33, ISSN (Online) 1877-8879, ISSN (Print) 1877-8860, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sjpain.2015.11.007.

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