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Work-Related Risk Factors for Transition to Chronic Back Pain and Disability 

Work-Related Risk Factors for Transition to Chronic Back Pain and Disability
Work-Related Risk Factors for Transition to Chronic Back Pain and Disability

William S. Shaw

, Glenn S. Pransky

, and Chris J. Main

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date: 17 May 2022

In summary, we know that workplace factors are of primary importance in determining chronic work disability outcomes, they can be identified early on in the course of LBP, and certain workplace interventions appear to be very successful at improving outcomes. Although methods to screen for workplace factors are still under development, there are several sets of available questionnaires and interview guides that can help clinicians identify and address these problems. A number of interventions have led to much better RTW outcomes, mostly targeting the response of the workplace to a report of a disabling back condition, and the process of communication and facilitation around RTW. Despite all of this knowledge, there is still much to be learned—how to best identify and explore workplace factors, how to effectively address these factors, how to overcome perceptions that workplace factors are unmodifiable, and how to bring along providers, employers and others to optimize the long-term outcomes of workers with LBP.

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