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Qual Life Res. 2007 Sep;16(7):1167-78. Epub 2007 Jul 7.

Health status, work limitations, and return-to-work trajectories in injured workers with musculoskeletal disorders.

Author information

1
National Research Centre for Working Environment, Lerso Parkalle 105, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark. u.bultmann@med.umcg.nl

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The purpose of this study was to describe the health status and work limitations in injured workers with musculoskeletal disorders at 1 month post-injury, stratified by return-to-work status, and to document their return-to-work trajectories 6 months post-injury.

METHODS:

A sample of 632 workers with a back or upper extremity musculoskeletal disorder, who filed a Workplace Safety and Insurance Board lost-time claim injury, participated in this prospective study. Participants were assessed at baseline (1 month post-injury) and at 6 months follow-up.

RESULTS:

One month post-injury, poor physical health, high levels of depressive symptoms and high work limitations are prevalent in workers, including in those with a sustained first return to work. Workers with a sustained first return to work report a better health status and fewer work limitations than those who experienced a recurrence of work absence or who never returned to work. Six months post-injury, the rate of recurrence of work absence in the trajectories of injured workers who have made at least one return to work attempt is high (38%), including the rate for workers with an initial sustained first return to work (27%).

CONCLUSIONS:

There are return-to-work status specific health outcomes in injured workers. A sustained first return to work is not equivalent to a complete recovery from musculoskeletal disorders.

PMID:
17616838
PMCID:
PMC2039824
DOI:
10.1007/s11136-007-9229-x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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