Is back, neck and muscle pain hurting the UK economy?

Chiropractic treatment can be a great help to companies and their work-force save money and reduce absenteeism.

Joe Miller Business Reporter BBC Business News wrote on the 25 February 2014.

The UK economy is slowly recovering, but the country's workforce is in considerable pain.

Almost 31 million days of work were lost last year due to back, neck and muscle problems, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The ONS's Labour Force Survey, which polls hundreds of thousands of people in the UK, found that musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions, which include a large range of bone and joint complaints, accounted for more prolonged absences than any other ailment.

Although the country's workforce has largely swapped heavy manual labour for sitting in offices, MSKs have been the primary cause of absenteeism for the past five years, and the UK has one of the highest rates in Europe.

In fact, the Work Foundation estimates that employees suffering from bone and joint pain cost the EU's economies 240bn euros (£200bn) each year.

So why have bone and joint complaints persisted?

"Sitting is the new smoking," explains Prof Steve Bevan, director of the Centre for Workforce

Once symptoms do occur, we are slow to react. A two-year trial in Madrid showed that by assessing and treating 13,000 workers with MSKs who had been off for five days or more, their temporary work absence was reduced by 39% in the long term.

The Work Foundation estimates that more than 60,000 Britons would be available for work if the Madrid tactics were replicated in the UK.

However, even the more careful among us are at risk of MSKs, and the workplace may have little to do with it.

'Ferrari without wheels'

Indeed, alarm bells have been ringing for some time over the impact of musculoskeletal diseases.
In 2000, then-UN Secretary General Kofi Annan launched the Bone and Joint Decade at the World Health Organization in Switzerland, an initiative designed to reduce the number of MSKs around the globe.

Not much has changed since. A study by medical journal The Lancet, published in 2012, found that musculoskeletal conditions were the second greatest cause of disability in the world, affecting over 1.7 billion people worldwide.

"I describe suffering from musculoskeletal disorders as being like a Ferrari without wheels," says Prof Woolf, who is also the chair of Bone and Joint Decade. "If you don't have mobility and dexterity, it doesn't matter how healthy the rest of your body is."

Recurrent MSKs account for 60% of permanent work incapacity in the EU .

The rest of the body is likely to suffer too. Having an MSK dramatically increases the likelihood of suffering from depression, says the Work Foundation.

And according to the ONS, depression accounts for the third largest amount of missed work days in the UK - 15 million.

But changing attitudes could be having an effect. There has been a general reduction in the total number of work-related MSKs since 2001, and a series of measures have been introduced to increase awareness of the problem.

The "fit note", introduced in 2010, encourages doctors to provide details of what may be causing employees' ill health, and suggest adjustments to be made.

Smaller business looking to make their workplaces safer can also access government grants to help them do so.

In Conclusion - Chiropractic Can Help!

The message is: If you have a problem, do not delay treatment!

The ‘Wait and See’ approach has been said to create long-term problems and prolong disability.

The Chiropractic approach is to examine and diagnose the problem quickly and efficiently – and then provide treatment that is targeted at reducing the pain quickly by providing effective targeted treatment.

Read more about how Chiropractic treatment can help you get rid of aches and pains.

We have several companies praising our work in getting their work-force keep healthy and fit.

For the full article, click here.

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