A new study indicates that x-ray technologists, the majority of whom were found to have “significant and diverse musculoskeletal” problems, can blame their high rates of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) on the significant physical stresses of their jobs.
In a study performed with a random sample of 20 radiological x-ray technologists at the University hospitals in Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Dr. Shrawan Kumar, professor of physical therapy at the University of Alberta, discovered that 83 percent of the techs regularly reported backaches and 39 percent of the females in the sample also reported regular neck pain. That, says Kumar, could indicate that x-ray techs aren’t getting sufficient time between tasks to allow for recovery.
Kumar noted that the job demands, which regularly include lifting patients and equipment, and the physical stress the job puts on the workers could explain why x-ray techs rarely work past age 50.
“I was horrified to see the kind of physical stress x-ray technologists go through,” Kumar said of his study published in the International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics. “They have the same physical stress level that heavy laborers have, but most heavy labor is intermittent work, and x-ray technologists work constantly.”
Kumar also believes that a portion of the work performed by x-ray techs is exceeding recommended spinal load limits.