Background Musculoskeletal diseases are major causes of sick leave. The patterns of short and long term sick leave in the different disease groups are not well studied.
Objectives To examine variations in the length of sick leave between groups of major musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).
Methods We collected information on all sick leave certificates issued in 22 public primary health care units and the 2 hospitals of the North West region of the Skåne County in Sweden (population 250 000) 2009-2010. We then calculated length of periods of sick leave and proportion of short (<15 days), medium (15-90 days) and long (>90 days) sick leaves for different disorders using the three character level diagnostic codes of the musculoskeletal disease (M) chapter for the ICD-10 coding system. Correlation with age was tested by Pearson correlation.
Results We found 3563 (51% for women) sick leave periods issued caused by MSDs (ICD-10 M00-M99), 17% (613) <15 days, 63% (2234) 15-90 days and 20% (716) >90 days. Length of periods was increasing with higher age (Pearson correlation, r=0.102, p<0.001). The 5 MSDs with most sick leave episodes were back pain (M54), myalgia (M79), disc disorders (M51), knee osteoarthritis (M17) and knee injuries (M23). The proportion of short and long sick leave periods differed significantly between the groups (p<0.001) (Figure 1).
Conclusions Distribution of short and long-term sick leave differs between the most common MSDs. Patients with back pain or myalgia had more short-term sick leave while knee osteoarthritis and disc disorders had a greater proportion of long-term sick leave.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared