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New guidance on making work less of a pain in the back
Date:5/1/2009

New guidance for employers, patients and doctors on helping people with back pain return to work will be announced on Tuesday May 5 at the University of Leicester.

It is estimated that it costs society in excess of 12 billion a year with people taking time off work because of back pain. Around 80% of these costs, were not associated with healthcare but due to lost work production and associated wage replacement benefits.

"These figures demonstrate the importance of maintaining people with chronic pain in useful employment," says Professor Paul Watson of the University of Leicester Department of Health Sciences who was among a group of researchers investigating back pain and its impact in the workplace.

"The role of healthcare practitioners in sanctioning work absence has been investigated and this has demonstrated that the health service is currently ill equipped to manage work loss in people with chronic pain and may in itself contribute to the high societal costs."

The reasons why people become disabled by chronic pain are not entirely explained by the severity of pain or the pathology but are better explained by the interaction of complex psychological and societal factors. Treatments which ignore these factors risk perpetuating the problem of chronic disability and work loss.

Professor Watson will present his report at the University of Leicester on Tuesday 5 May at 5.30pm. The lecture takes place in the Ken Edwards Building, Lecture Theatre 1 and is open to the public and free.

Key recommendations are:

  • Assessment of the key, psychosocial barriers to successful rehabilitation
  • Development of an action plan to provide comprehensive treatment to address these barriers.
  • A co-ordinated approach involving of healthcare workers, employers and patients to prevent work loss
  • A recognition that a return to full engagement in society, including work, is beneficial to healt
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Contact: University of Leicester Press Office
pressoffice@le.ac.uk
University of Leicester
Source:Eurekalert

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