Everett Chiropractic Center Blog

December 6, 2014

Absenteeism: What are the odds?

How to guarantee that you will get back pain

How to guarantee that you will get back pain

Well according to a recent article in the journal Spine (1), there is a 22% increased chance a person will miss work if they have chronic low back pain. A person with chronic neck pain is 20% more likely to miss work on any given day than someone who doesn’t. (Saying that reminds me of a survey of 5,000 nurses, 83% of whom said that they were working with back pain at the time of the survey. That suggests a lot of “chronic” back pain among nurses anyway.)

Absenteeism is one of those “indirect costs” of back pain that is rarely calculated. When all the direct and indirect costs of back pain are factored in, back pain is #1: the most common job-related injury; the most expensive; and the most disabling.

It’s interesting that things are so bad that, for example, hospitals are required by legislation to have “policies or programs to decrease work-related injuries”. Like all the other safety regulations and risk management structure, there is a requirement to have the policy, the program, or the procedure, but no requirement to show improvement in that thing supposedly the subject of the policy: back pain injury. The prevalence of that just keeps going up. The company stays in “compliance” but when you look at how their employees move or the back injury statistics, it just keeps getting worse.

Why? I don’t know. The Risk Managers get to check off a box indicating the employee watched a video or went to a safety meeting (they’ve done their job); the safety guy/gal held a safety meeting and showed a video (they’ve done their job); the employee attended (so they have done their job).

But when it comes to back pain injury, the videos are not any good at teaching what to do. The booklets from the Department of Labor & Industries are no better (which is where employers should be able to look for leadership). So the focus is on what not to do – the physics of holding stuff too far away, etc. And… poor lifting and bending continues. Where ever in the company the pain of the cost is felt, it isn’t accessible. Because the indirect costs don’t show up anywhere as a line item, they are essentially invisible.

There is a way to move that is safer and less likely to result in injury.

There are ways of quickly, easily, and affordably evaluated how people move (so you can tell who does and who does not need training) (This is a measurement of risk!)

How to properly bend & lift (and perform other movements) can be learned and taught in a very short period of time by anyone with average intelligence, (think Safety Person at work…).

Call us at (425) 348-5207 if you or your employer would like to know how.

(1) Spine, July 1, 2014:39(15):1243-53



  1. […] up; the costs continue to climb. It is more common than any other injury, more expensive, and more disabling. THE COST OF NOT DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT IS […]

    Pingback by Another “How Not To Bend Over” Photo, This Time From The WSDOT | Everett Chiropractic Center Blog — December 22, 2014 @ 6:01 pm

  2. […] low back pain (following what’s known as the “natural history”). Disability and absenteeism is greatly increased by these numbers; productivity can be greatly decreased. These are some of the […]

    Pingback by $23,297 For The Average Reported Low Back Injury Claim; The Tip Of The Iceberg | Everett Chiropractic Center Blog — December 24, 2014 @ 12:34 pm

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