Increasingly, surgeons are talking about a once-taboo topic: the pain they feel after hours spent contorted into positions the human body was not meant to sustain. Surveys show that a high percentage of surgeons regularly feel musculoskeletal pain related to work and that they have twice the risk of such injuries as the general population. The pain is severe enough that some fear they will have to reduce their workloads or retire early.

Interest in work-related pain has grown along with recognition of two more trends: physician burnout and a coming shortage of surgeons just as aging baby boomers need more care. Plus, doctors said, procedures are growing longer and more complicated as new techniques mean there’s potential help for more conditions.

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