Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

Living Edition
| Editors: Marc Gellman

Pain Self-Management at Work

  • William S. ShawEmail author
  • Glenn Pransky
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6439-6_101917-1


Pain self-management at work is the ability of individuals to master issues of communication, job modification, pacing, and problem-solving to overcome health challenges at work. For workers with chronic pain problems, this approach can improve workplace function, coping, job satisfaction, social relations at work, and organizational support.


One significant trend in the workforce is the advancing median age of workers and the growing prevalence of chronic medical conditions that can contribute to workplace pain, fatigue, task limitations, and reduced productivity. Approximately 40% of working adults report persistent or recurrent musculoskeletal pain conditions or other chronic health conditions that limit their ability to work (Burton et al. 2004). Because of aging trends in the workforce, the prevalence of chronic medical conditions, especially musculoskeletal conditions, will increase in coming years, and this may lead to productivity losses for employers...


Sickness Absence Chronic Health Condition Work Engagement Turnover Intention Musculoskeletal Pain Condition 
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References and Further Readings

  1. Burton, W. N., Pransky, G., Conti, D. J., Chen, C. Y., & Edington, D. W. (2004). The association of medical conditions and presenteeism. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 46(6 Suppl), S38–S45.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Peterson, C. L., & Murphy, G. (2010). Transition from the labor market: Older workers and retirement. International Journal of Health Services, 40(4), 609–627.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Shaw, W. S., Tveito, T. H., Geehern-Lavoie, M., Huang, Y. H., Nicholas, M. K., Reme, S. E., Wagner, G., & Pransky, G. (2012). Adapting principles of chronic pain self-management to the workplace. Disability and Rehabilitation, 32(24), 2035–2045.Google Scholar
  4. Tveito, T. H., Shaw, W. S., Huang, Y. H., Nicholas, M., & Wagner, G. (2010). Managing pain in the workplace: A focus group study of challenges, strategies and what matters most to workers with low back pain. Disability and Rehabilitation, 32(24), 2035–2045.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. van Leeuwen, M. T., Blyth, F. M., March, L. M., Nicholas, M. K., & Cousins, M. J. (2006). Chronic pain and reduced work effectiveness: The hidden cost to Australian employers. European Journal of Pain, 10(2), 161–166.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Disability ResearchLiberty Mutual Research Institute for SafetyHopkintonUSA
  2. 2.University of Massachusetts Medical SchoolWorcesterUSA