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Work-Related Interventions to Reduce Work Disability Related to Musculoskeletal Disorders

  • Dwayne Van EerdEmail author
  • Peter Smith
Living reference work entry
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Part of the Handbook Series in Occupational Health Sciences book series (HDBSOHS, volume 1)

Abstract

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) cause considerable disability and lost productivity in many economic sectors worldwide. In fact, the most common MSD (low back pain and neck pain) rank as the first and fourth highest disability causes among noncommunicable diseases globally. Research has shown there is a strong link between work factors and MSD. The goal of this chapter is to provide an overview of work-related interventions designed to reduce the work disability burden resulting from MSD. The chapter also covers some emerging topics relevant to conducting research on MSD and work disability. The research findings described in this overview suggest that seven return-to-work principles created over a decade ago continue to be supported by the scientific literature. In particular there is consistent support for employers providing work accommodations and communication between healthcare providers and the workplace. However, there are more high-quality studies required as the available evidence regarding interventions to reduce the work disability caused by MSD is not strong. Emerging topics related to sex and gender, sitting and standing, and aging are important to MSD and work disability. The existing research evidence on these topics is equivocal; however, it is clear that workplaces must consider them in RTW and accommodation practices. More high-quality research, while challenging to conduct, would be beneficial contributing to positive workplace results.

Keywords

Musculoskeletal disorders, Return to work Work disability Interventions Prognosis Sex and gender Aging 

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Work & HealthTorontoCanada

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