Musculoskeletal Pain in the Workforce: The Effects of Back, Arthritis, and Fibromyalgia Pain on Quality of Life and Work Productivity

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Objective:To investigate the impact of musculoskeletal pain on health-related quality of life and work productivity losses among US workers.Methods:Data from the 2008 US National Health and Wellness Survey were used. Among those currently employed aged 20 to 64 years (N = 30,868), workers with arthritis (n = 2,670), back (n = 4,920), and fibromyalgia (n = 439) pain were compared with workers without those respective musculoskeletal pain conditions.Results:Arthritis, back, and fibromyalgia pain were all associated with significantly lower levels of health-related quality of life, often at clinically meaningful levels. All pain conditions were associated with higher levels of work productivity loss, even after adjusting for demographic and health characteristics.Conclusions:Musculoskeletal pain conditions were highly prevalent and associated with a significant burden. Improved management of these conditions may lead to improved productivity, benefiting both employers and workers alike.

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