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Radiologists often suffer from work-related back ailments

According to the American College of Radiology, lower back pain affects one-third of U.S. radiology professionals. In many cases, technology is to blame for such ailments. Oklahoma radiologists often have to sit for long periods of time in front of a computer.

The authors of a review published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology in March say that modern medical imaging technology could be to blame for the problem of musculoskeletal injuries among radiology professionals. Picture archiving and communication systems have largely replaced the older film-based systems. Though there are many advantages to PACS, their use means that radiologists spent a lot of time sitting at computers.

The authors surveyed about 500 practice leaders who represented one-third of all practicing radiologists in the country. Over 30 percent said that radiologists at their practices reported lower back pain; 25 percent said radiologists at their practices reported lower neck pain; and 16 percent said radiologists at their practices reported repetitive stress injuries.

The authors say that non ergonomic chairs, sitting in awkward positions and failure to take regular breaks could also be contributing to the problem of musculoskeletal injuries. They recommend a 'culture change" in which radiology workplaces are designed more ergonomically to prevent pain and injuries.

Injuries caused by work tasks or a work environment are almost always covered by workers' compensation. Oklahoma law requires that all employees have coverage through their employers. However, receiving compensation requires filing a claim and seeing a doctor who is chosen by the insurance company. While workers' compensation claims are sometimes denied, legal counsel could help a client with the appeals process.

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