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SP0104 How to identify employees with musculoskeletal pain at risk for sick leave
  1. S.J. Linton
  1. Center for Health and Medical Psychology, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden

Abstract

Employees suffering musculoskeletal pain sometimes develop problems that limit their work capacity. Because such pain problems commonly occur and often reside relatively quickly, identifying those who are at risk of pain-related work absence can appear to be exceptionally difficult. Yet, identification is a pillar for addressing the problem early on so as to prevent chronification. And to be sure, helpful intervention programs are available. This talk will focus on how to identify those at risk using validated techniques.

Screening for those at risk is about identifying people who are so likely to develop a significant problem in the future that immediate further assessment or intervention is warranted. Thus, it is based on the idea that such a procedure could help us to focus limited resources on those most in need of them.

Standardized screening procedures, including the use of short questionnaires, are very helpful. These procedures can help clinicians save time by asking the most pertinent questions. They are also useful in making clinical decisions such as whether to proceed with further assessment. At best, the information y can also be valuable for making decisions about what kind of treatment might be most effective. Two approaches that have been tested sufficiently will be described in more detail. Several studies show that these screening procedures can accurately detect a significant portion of those who are truly at risk although the exact accuracy varies greatly between investigations.

Evidence is emerging that many risk factors are evident very early on suggesting that screening procedures might be initiated at the very first health-care visit. In fact, new data show that a risk profile is detectable hours after the injury. While identifying those at risk is an important first step, we also need to consider how cases will be dealt with when recognized. Clear procedures are required to either assess the problem further or provide for intervention directly.

While identifying those at risk is an important first step, we also need to consider how cases will be dealt with when recognized. Clear procedures are required to either assess the problem further or provide for intervention directly.

Disclosure of Interest None Declared

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