I have watched many co-workers injure their backs and never return to work. I always thought they were just soft. Now it's my turn. After hurting my back six weeks ago, I am still having enough pain to keep me from doing my job. What is it that keeps some of us from getting back to work quickly--or at all?
Researchers in New Zealand studied a large group of adults who hurt their backs on the job. They hoped to find risk factors that could account for people who go from having acute, short-term injuries to long-term, chronic problems.
The researchers did indeed find two sets of risk factors--one that was worker-related and one associated with the job or work setting. Individual risks included increasing age, obesity, problems sleeping, depression, and severe pain down the leg or legs. On-the-job risks included lifting or moving heavy objects, long hours of driving, and not being able to return to light duty after injury.
Addressing any of these items that may apply to you could help you return to work sooner.