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Wednesday 21st March 2018

Stay in work even with back pain

7th September 2007

A report by the Work Foundation has advised people who suffer from back problems to remain working as much as they can.


It says there is evidence that staying in work allows people with back problems or arthritis to get well more quickly. The report says over 1m people in the UK are affected by the conditions, at an annual cost of £7.4bn to society.

The report estimates the conditions are behind 9.5 million missed working days each year.

Approximately 400,000 people have rheumatoid arthritis. Of that number, 25% will stop working within five years of being diagnosed. Musculoskeletal disorders are the biggest source of work-related sickness in the UK.

The report warns that many doctors and companies erroneously think someone with the problem should be "100% well" before they went back to work.

The report advises GPs and employers to focus on the positive factors rather than the negative, in order to help sufferers get back to work.

Senior researcher Michelle Mahdon said: "Work can...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 person's self-esteem and sense of being productive."

Professor Alan Silman, medical director of the Arthritis Research Campaign, said each sufferer would need to be examined individually in order to see if their working environment could be adapted to help them return to work.

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