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Good leadership, support from colleagues and adaptation of duties. These are the most important factors for those with musculoskeletal pain to continue working. 

A new study from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health describes this, as reported by the magazine Arbetsliv (Working Life). Associate professor Päivi Leino-Arjas carried out the study. She notes that musculoskeletal pain is the most common cause of absence due to sickness within the EU, but she believes there are many measures an employer can take to help such people continue working. According to Leino-Arjas, it is particularly important that people suffering from pain symptoms are helped by proactive management, low stress and support from colleagues. She notes that mental stress increases the experience of pain and there is a lot of evidence that different forms of emotional support reduce stress reactions and thus pain. Leino-Arjas believes that occupational healthcare can play a crucial role in these cases, partly by professional treatment of any diseases which may lie behind the pain, and partly by encouraging a healthy lifestyle. She also stresses the importance of early detection and treatment of mental health problems, such as depression, because they may be correlated with perceived pain. The study is called Good work ability despite multisite musculoskeletal pain? and can be downloaded from the internet.

Linda Sundgren

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