• Good advice for aches, pains & injuries
bibliography * The PainScience Bibliography contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers and others sources, like a specialized blog. This page is about a single scientific paper in the bibliography, Nolan 2017.

What do physiotherapists and manual handling advisors consider the safest lifting posture, and do back beliefs influence their choice?


Tags: etiology, mind, back pain, injury, biomechanics, pro, pain problems, spine

PainSci summary of Nolan 2017?This page is one of thousands in the bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided at the bottom of the page, as often as possible. ★★★☆☆?3-star ratings are for typical studies with no more (or less) than the usual common problems. Ratings are a highly subjective opinion, and subject to revision at any time. If you think this paper has been incorrectly rated, please let me know.

This survey found that about 75% of physical therapists believe that lifting with a straight back is safer … because lifting with a rounded back is more risky. Unsurprisingly, professionals with this opinion also have more “negative back beliefs” (that is, they tend to believe the back is more fragile and vulnerable).

~ Paul Ingraham

original abstractAbstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

BACKGROUND: It is commonly believed lifting is dangerous and the back should be straight during lifting. These beliefs may arise from healthcare professionals, yet no study has evaluated the lifting and back beliefs of manual handling advisors (MHAs) and physiotherapists (PTs).

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate (i) what lifting technique MHAs and PTs perceive as safest, and why, and (ii) the back pain beliefs of MHAs and PTs.

DESIGN: Data was collected via an electronic survey.

METHOD: Participants selected the safest lifting posture from four options: two with a straight back and two with a more rounded back, with justification. Back beliefs were collected via the Back-Pain Attitudes Questionnaire (Back-PAQ). Relationships were investigated using multiple linear and logistic regression models.

RESULTS: 400 PTs and MHAs completed the survey. 75% of PTs and 91% of MHAs chose a straight lifting posture as safest, mostly on the basis that it avoided rounding of the back. MHAs scored significantly higher than PTs on the Back-PAQ instrument (mean difference = 33.9), indicating more negative back beliefs. Those who chose the straight back position had significantly more negative back beliefs (mean 81.9, SD 22.7) than those who chose a round back lift (mean 61.7, SD 21.1).

CONCLUSION: Avoiding rounding the back while lifting is a common belief in PTs and MHAs, despite the lack of evidence that any specific spinal posture is a risk factor for low back pain. MHAs, and those who perceived a straight back position as safest, had significantly more negative back beliefs.

related content

These two articles on cite Nolan 2017 as a source:

This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights: