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Why radiologists are at risk for neck, back and stress injuries

A new workforce study published by the American College of Radiology suggests that nearly 33 percent of all active U.S. radiologists suffer from lower back pain. Researchers suggest that the musculoskeletal injuries from which these medical professionals increasingly suffer from may be an ill-effect of the modern picture archiving and communication (PACS) era.

They note that, back when films were relied upon for imaging, radiologists used to move about as they changed or reviewed films. Now, images are instead taken, reviewed and stored via digital means. While this type of recordkeeping has allowed for faster scheduling and access to patient records, it has made radiologists become more sedentary on-the-job than they ever were before.

The researchers note that, in a survey conducted among medical practice administrators, at least 32 percent of the musculoskeletal injuries radiologists reported to their employers was back pain. At least 25 percent reported having neck pain. Another 16 percent claimed to suffer from repetitive stress injuries.

Low job satisfaction and adverse working conditions may also contribute to increased reports of musculoskeletal pain among radiologists, according to researchers.

The study's authors suggest that radiologists can significantly reduce their risk of developing musculoskeletal injuries by spending less time sitting in front of their computers. When they do take a seat, they can also minimize the adverse effects it has on their bodies by choosing to sit in ergonomic chairs.

They note that radiologists should also avoid sitting in akward positions that can cause neck, back and repetitive stress injuries.

If you've developed back, neck or stress injuries while working as a radiologist, filing a workers' compensation claim may be in order.

Source: Radiology Business, "Lower back, neck pain among most common workplace injuries for radiologists," accessed April 20, 2018

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