Spotlight on Nurses: What It’s Like to be in the Patient’s Seat

SiJPC News

Nurses are often the first line of defense in preventing illness or injury, but sometimes they become a patient in the process. Moving and lifting patients can result in an SI joint injury and ongoing back pain. These underlying problems can make an already physically demanding job even more difficult.

With a 17-year history of back problems, and two prior spinal fusions, Susan, an operating room (OR) nurse from New Hampshire, continued to work, even if that meant lifting heavy patients with little assistance. “I was taught body mechanics in school. We were taught the proper skills for moving patients and how to lift using your legs and not your back. Everywhere I worked, we had yearly training that went over body mechanics.”  As an OR nurse, she tried her best to utilize these teachings. “Yes, you use proper body mechanics, but if you’re short staffed, you move patients by yourself or you lift too much which may be unsafe. You are frequently positioning patients.  In the operating room, patients are usually under anesthesia and they cannot assist in positioning.  Sometimes you have to hold a patient’s arm or leg for a long time while the limb is prepped.” Unfortunately, in 2011, Susan was pulling a patient over from a gurney to the OR table and felt a pop. “I was on the side of the OR bed, helping the patient to slide over. The patient grabbed my arm and pulled. I was against the OR bed and twisted my body. That is when I felt the pop in my SI joint.”

Susan was diagnosed with SI joint disruption and eventually had the iFuse Implant System® (“iFuse”) procedure. After the surgery, Susan utilized crutches and a cane for a few weeks.  She was cleared for everyday activity after six months. She now fills her time enjoying activities that she wasn’t able to enjoy for years. Having had a positive experience with iFuse, Susan became an SI Buddy® wanting to support others in getting the treatment they needed. She is also a staunch advocate for the next generation of nurses. “We need to get the word out. I have a daughter in nursing school now and I keep telling her to be kind to her back.”

The SI Joint Patient Community would also like to recognize SI Buddies Barbara, Sherry, Leah, Sharron, Janice and Catherine for their contributions in nursing.


The SI Buddy® program is reserved for patients who have been diagnosed by a trained surgeon and recommended for the iFuse procedure. SI Buddy volunteers have been successfully treated with the iFuse Implant System®. They are not medical professionals and their statements should not be interpreted as medical advice.

The iFuse Implant System® is intended for sacroiliac fusion for conditions including sacroiliac joint dysfunction that is a direct result of sacroiliac joint disruption and degenerative sacroiliitis. This includes conditions whose symptoms began during pregnancy or in the peripartum period and have persisted postpartum for more than 6 months. Clinical studies have demonstrated that treatment with the iFuse Implant System improved pain, patient function, and quality of life.

There are potential risks associated with the iFuse Implant System. It may not be appropriate for all patients and all patients may not benefit. For information about the risks, visit: 


For comprehensive information about iFuse and some causes of SI Joint pain and dysfunction, please visit

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