Send to

Choose Destination
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

National Research Centre for Working Environment, Lerso Parkalle 105, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.



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.


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.


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%).


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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center