The Office for National Statistics
found that, in 2013, more working days were lost to musculoskeletal problems such as back and neck pain than anything else.
Once upon a time, if you suffered from back pain, you were likely to be referred by your GP to see a physiotherapist, some painkillers and told to rest.
The approach now seems to be a more holistic one starting from the recognition that psychosocial factors play an important part and so does dealing with people's perception of pain.
Many Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) offer help on the phone first, which may involve asking questions about work environment, around anxiety and depression, working out more cost-efficiently for employers because they do not necessarily involve a string of medical appointments.
A cognitive behavioural approach really works for people who experience pain linked with psychosocial factors and helps them manage their pain and feel in control.
Some stats from the report:
2013 = 131 millions working days lost due to sickness absence. This is equivalent to 4.4 days per employee.
31 millions working days were lost due to musculoskeletal problems;
27 millions working days lost due to coughs and cold;
15 millions working days lost due to stress, anxiety and depression.
Food for thought, isn't it?