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Lower Spine News

Retiring from Back Pain

Neck and back pain are major concerns for workers around the world. Work slowdown and absent workers cost companies and countries millions of dollars every year. People with chronic back pain may end up retiring on disability. Is it possible to predict who will have to retire because of disabling back pain?

A study of almost 35,000 working men and women gives some news about this. Risk factors such as smoking, obesity, general health, burn out, and job tasks were compared. Some risk factors are better than others to predict who will have a future disability.

Physically hard work is the biggest risk for disability from back pain. The second greatest risk is "burn out," an overall feeling of being tired and worn out. The risk goes up when smoking, excess weight, and inactivity are added to the first two factors. The risk goes up again if the person has other diseases or general poor health.

When it comes to risk factors for retirement because of back pain disability, a physically demanding job is number one. Poor health and burn out add to this risk. Treatment for back pain alone isn't enough to prevent disability retirement. Paying attention to the health, social, and emotional needs of workers is also important.


KÃ¥re B. Hagen, PhD, et al. A Prospective Cohort Study of Risk Factors for Disability Retirement Because of Back Pain in the General Working Population. In Spine. August 15, 2002. Vol. 27. No. 16. Pp. 1790-1796.

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*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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