Page of

Social aspects (work) 

Social aspects (work)
Social aspects (work)
Oxford Textbook of Rheumatology (4 ed.)

Ross Wilkie


The impact of musculoskeletal disorders on work is demanding more attention from all stakeholders, including clinicians and policy-makers. Musculoskeletal disorders are the most frequently cited reason for absence from work and there is a need for new approaches and attitudes to assess and reduce the burden. For many rheumatologists, inflammatory arthritis is the most frequently encountered condition that interferes with work. However, the cumulative burden of non-inflammatory arthropathies and disorders such as back pain, osteoarthritis, and limb pain as a whole, results in a much greater economic and human cost to society than inflammatory disease. As the incidence of these conditions increases with age and as working lives extend, there will be many more employees with musculoskeletal problems in years to come. Significantly, new information supports the view that work loss need not be a consequence of a musculoskeletal disorder or disability. This presents an achievable challenge to everyone and underlines the importance of a biopsychosocial and interdisciplinary approach involving interaction between those with a musculoskeletal condition, clinicians, employers, and policy-makers. This chapter outlines the challenges (i.e. the size of the problem and reasons for work restriction) and opportunities to reduce the burden of musculoskeletal conditions on work. It draws on the results of empirical studies to highlight potential targets to reduce work restriction.

Sign In

Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved.