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New guidance to help people with chronic back pain return to work

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New guidance to help people with chronic back pain return to work is to be published by University of Leicester researchers today.

Chronic back pain costs the economy around £12b a year, 80% of which is due to lost work production and associated wage replacement benefits, rather than healthcare costs, the researchers said.

The evidence-based guidance – for healthcare workers, patients and employers – recommends adopting a holistic approach to chronic back pain by assessing the key psychosocial barriers that prevent people with the condition returning to work.

According to the researchers, psychological and societal factors are equally as important as pain severity in treating chronic back pain, and treatments which ignore these factors risk perpetuating the problem of chronic disability and work loss, they said.

The guidance also recommends adopting a co-ordinated multi-disciplinary approach to chronic back pain, and developing an action plan to provide comprehensive treatment.

It will be launched at the University of Leicester at 5.30pm today, following a presentation on back pain and its impact on the workplace by Paul Watson, professor of pain management and rehabilitation from the university’s department of health sciences.

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