Occupational Injuries among Physical Therapists in South-West, Nigeria
Background: Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) has identified on-the-job injuries as a major problem facing health care workers. There is little data available on injuries sustained by physical therapists in Nigeria.
Objective: This sfudy was carried out to detennine the nature, prevalence, job risk factors and consequences of occupational injuries with particular focus on musculoskeletal injuries experienced by physical therapists in the south western part of Nigeria.
Methods: A hundred copies, self administered questionnaire composed of thirty (30) close-ended questions were administered to physical therapists working in hospitals and private clinics. Questions included occupational history of the physical therapists; duration of injury; body parts affected; activities that aggravate symptoms; patients predominantly treated; management and preventive strategies. The data were analysed using descriptive analysis.
Results: Seventy-eight percent (78%) of the physical therapists had past histories of occupational injuries. The most prevalent injured body parts were the lower back (45.2%), wrist and hand (26%) mid back (10.6%) and neck (6.7%). The highest job risk factors were manual therapy techniques (20.9%), transferring patients (13.8%) and static position (12.2%). Stroke (31.7%) and low back (28.2%) patients were predominantly treated. Activities that cause re-injury include manual technique and repetitive tasks. Muscle strain was the commonest type of injury (55%), while fracture was the least (1 %).
Conclusion: This study concluded that occupational injury was high among selected physical therapists in the South West of Nigeria. It also concluded that the low back and hands were the most common sites susceptible to injury, while muscle strain was the most common type of injury.
KEYWORDS: Occupational injury, Musculoskeletal injury, Physical therapists