Relentless back pain associated with sick leave?

Posted on September 12. 2016

Health & Lifestyle


Relentless back pain associated with sick leave?

Employees who give 100% to their jobs may be putting their company at a disadvantage.

When a strong-willed employee finally admits defeat due to serious back pain or exhaustion, the employee is not the only one left to suffer. Companies can lose a great deal; 15% of people with back pain are absent from work for over one month (Bevan).

Why does this happen?

Abusing the main connectors between your vertebrae column, which are there to help your range of motion, will result in serious back pain or worse, a pinched nerve. The vertebrae column functions to help you remain upright, so when employees sit motionless at their desk, hunched over for hours on end, it is completely understandable why back pain and fatigue start to emerge. It costs the European economy 240 billion euro annually for allocating expenses dealing with back pain (The Fit for Work Europe Coalition).

Don’t put the `out-of-office´ sign problem on the back burner.

One solution could involve the implementation of sit stand desks. This potential strategy to reduce sitting time was examined in various studies. Although there is an increasing trend for adjustable desks, only 1 out of 10 workers use their desk actively (Chau et al). While total sitting time decreased compared to no intervention, it is still considerably less than the two to four hours recommended by experts (Shrestha et al). Sit stand desks did not have a substantial effect on work performance, musculoskeletal symptoms or sick leave. In order to make the sit stand desk more effective and appealing to employees, a movement chair must be used to support them in all positions.

Leave out the sick leave.

Well-designed longitudinal studies have assessed factors related to sick leave. The evidence suggests prevention of neck and back pain including advice to stay active is justified. If the office is equipped with movement chairs, specially designed for functionality, then there is no need to encourage longer vacation breaks, laps around the office or afternoon stretches that disrupt the flow of creativity. Movement chairs stimulate your entire body, reduce fat, and open up your lower back, hip flexors, and gluteus muscles. Benefits for the employer include healthier employees, more productive employees and an overall positive impact on a company’s earnings.

Cited Sources:

Bevan, Stephen. The Impact of Back Pain on Sickness Absence in Europe. The Work Foundation. 2012

Chau et al. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. BioMed Central Ltd. 2014

Shrestha et al. Workplace interventions for reducing sitting at work. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2016. Issue 3.

The Fit for Work Europe Coalition. Making Work Count - How Health Technology Assessment Can Keep Europeans in Work.

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