Keep Working to Avoid Back Pain

People with conditions such as back pain and arthritis need to stay in work as much as possible, a report says. The Work Foundation in UK says the evidence suggests that being able to work helps sufferers of musculoskeletal disorders recover more quickly.


Yet many GPs and employers wrongly believe a sufferer must be “100% well” before any return to work, it says. Experts agreed, but warned people could do more harm than good unless their work situation was properly assessed. Such conditions affect more than one million people in the UK and cost society £7.4 billion a year, the Work Foundation says.

The foundation  “an organisation which aims to find ways to boost both economic performance and quality of working life”   says many sufferers are taking long periods of sick leave or quitting work altogether. But it says the evidence suggests that people can benefit from going back to work as soon as possible.

GPs and employers need to focus on what people can do rather than what they cannot, the report said.

Senior researcher Michelle Mahdon said:  Stress hogs headlines, but in terms of people affected, musculoskeletal disorders are the bigger problem, affecting more than one million people a year and, of course, their families.

She added, “Work can be both cause and cure. It may cause or aggravate symptoms, but evidence is amassing that with the right support arrangements, work can also be part of the recovery by contributing to a persons self-esteem and sense of being productive. What urgently needs to change is the attitude of many GPs and employers that a sufferer must be 100% well before any return to work can be contemplated.”

Professor Alan Silman, medical director of the Arthritis Research Campaign, said that in appropriate cases a return to normal activities could lead to more rapid recovery, although fear of pain and lack of support from colleagues could make it daunting. “However, work can be a major contributor to musculoskeletal problems through excessive loading, poor posture, repetitive movements and other mechanical causes.”

Source:The Times Of India

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