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Back Pain & Other Musculoskeletal Aches

Back pain and other musculoskeletal aches and pains are the single biggest cause of sickness absence in the UK, costing the economy approximately £7.4 billion per annum and the NHS around £150 million pounds in physiotherapy treatment.

Every week around 50% of people of working age will experience a musculoskeletal disorder, also known as an upper limb disorder (ULD). These conditions include, for example, a ‘frozen’ shoulder, back pain or tendon-related pain.

Manual workers are more at risk of suffering an upper limb disorder called Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) known to affect 370,000 workers in the UK with 86,000 new cases recorded in 2008. This costs employers around £300 million in lost working time, sick pay and administration.

Why Encourage Taking Care of Bones and Joints at Work?
As well as the cost to the individual in pain and discomfort, there is also a huge financial cost to employers resulting in lost working days, increased sick pay and reduced productivity. Most repetitive strain injuries are usually preventable with the correct risk assessment and health and safety measures in place. As with the effective reduction of any health or safety risk, not only do managers first need to take action to implement risk-reducing measures, but employees then need to change their routine ways of working to incorporate new methods, equipment, or working practices.

A ‘biopsychosocial’ approach is needed. This means that while biological considerations should not be ignored, it is psychosocial factors that are most important. This involves the assessment of lifestyle factors both in and out of work and the implementation of personalised changes to ensure a focus on ability rather than disability.

Benefits to employers

  • Increased knowledge base on musculoskeletal issues and how to avoid them or manage them
  • Retain staff and their skills or expertise gained in your workplace
  • Reduce staff turnover
  • Reduced recruitment and training costs
  • More productive workforce & increased profits
  • Enhance your image as an employer who invests in their staff
  • Reduces the risk of costly prosecution and loss of image

Benefits to employees

  • Support in managing current disorders
  • Prevent developing common bone and joint disorders
  • Report symptoms or problems early to prevent worsening
  • Access to leaflets and literature about the condition
  • Support to stay in work rather than leave
  • Having an employer who understands your problem