Workers counseled on back pain return to job sooner

Workers counseled on back pain return to job sooner
Study found reassurance, advice to stay active aided recovery.

(HealthDay) -- Workers on medical leave because of lower back pain are more likely to return to work if they receive reassurance and medical advice on how to stay active, according to a new study.

People with nonspecific who avoid activity could delay their recovery, say researchers Dr. Marc Du Bois and Peter Donceel, at KU Leuven, a university in Belgium.

Their study involved more than 500 workers -- mostly blue-collar -- on because of . Workers who had symptoms of a serious back problem were not included.

The study was published in the Aug. 1 issue of Spine.

The researchers randomly selected half of the workers to receive information and advice on their condition. Specifically, these workers were told their pain would likely resolve over time. They were also advised to avoid , to remain active and continue with their normal daily routine.

The remaining participants did not receive this information and advice and were only given a standard disability evaluation.

Workers who were educated about back pain and reassured that they would get better were more likely to return to work. After one year, the study showed, only 4 percent of these workers had not done so. In comparison, 8 percent of those who did not receive the counseling on back pain remained on leave.

The researchers found that the 38 percent of those who were given the advice on back pain had repeated episodes of , compared with 60 percent of those who did not receive this advice.

"Combined counseling and disability evaluation by a medical advisor results in a higher return to work rate due to a lower sick leave recurrence as compared to disability evaluation alone," the study's authors wrote in a journal news release.

Advice on low back pain should be part of routine disability evaluations to prevent it from becoming a chronic and disabling condition, the authors concluded, and this advice should be provided within six weeks of a worker going out on medical leave.

More information:
The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more about back pain.

Related Stories

Low back pain counseling strategy ups return to work

date Feb 28, 2012

(HealthDay) -- Combining a disability evaluation with proactive counseling for workers with low back pain (LBP) results in a higher return-to-work rate, which is statistically significant at one year, according ...

More control, fewer sickies

date Jun 25, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- Employees take fewer sickies if they have more control over their jobs, according to a new study.

Advice, devices ineffective in preventing worker back pain

date Jul 19, 2007

Back pain is the number one cause of worker-compensation complaints, second only to the common cold in causing lost workdays. Consequently, employers and regulators have pushed training programs to teach specific lifting ...

Unhappy work a pain in the back

date Apr 23, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- An international researcher based in Perth has found that workers who resign themselves to work in unsatisfactory jobs are more likely to suffer from serious, persistent lower back pain than others with ...

Recommended for you

Clues to a city's health may be found in its sewage

date 54 minutes ago

Research from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee suggests that sampling a city's sewage can tell scientists a great deal about its residents – and may someday lead to improvements in public health.

AAFP issues comprehensive breastfeeding toolkit

date 54 minutes ago

(HealthDay)—A new breastfeeding toolkit is available, which includes the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) business case for why employers should support breastfeeding, according to a ...

Understaffed nursing shift impacts patients

date 3 hours ago

Patients exposed to understaffed nursing shifts have a significantly greater chance of suffering conditions such as surgical wound infections, pressure injuries, urinary tract infections and pneumonia.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.