HCP Live
Contagion LiveCGT LiveNeurology LiveHCP LiveOncology LiveContemporary PediatricsContemporary OBGYNEndocrinology NetworkPractical CardiologyRheumatology Netowrk

Personal Factors and Outlook Affect The Rate of Returning to Work for Those With Back and Neck Problems

Patients suffering with back and neck problems return to work at different rates based on personal factors, according to thesis by a researcher at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Patients suffering with back and neck problems return to work at different rates based on personal factors, according to a thesis by a researcher at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Despite having similar problems, the sick-listed individuals were found to return to work more quickly if they had more motivation and drive to work.

The team studied 385 patients in a rehabilitation program over a 10-year period. The participants, who were sick-listed due to their back and neck problems, were asked to self-rate their pain, functional ability, and quality of life. Fitness levels were tested, the length of sick leave was registered, and patients were also asked about their thoughts and feelings about their future working life.

Those who were uncertain and had doubts about their work situation, tended to return to work less quickly than those who were not. Also, an important indicator was the patient’s ability to handle and understand the situation.

"Patients who lack motivation or who have a poor quality of life should perhaps have some form of counseling instead of physiotherapy," said the researcher, Marie Lydell, registered physiotherapist at the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, in a press release. "At the same time, other resources should be allocated to those with good potential to get back to work. In such cases, it might be enough for a physiotherapist to act as a coach rather than give traditional treatment."

Lydell said the healthcare system needs better tools to predict which patients will return to work quickly and which will not.

"It would mean that we could offer the best possible rehabilitation to every patient," said Lydell, in a press release. "A reducing of every patient's suffering is the biggest gain, but there are also major economic benefits."