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Back injuries are the leading cause of disability

The next time your employees complain of back pain, or seek time off to deal with lingering back injuries, chances are that they are not making false complaints. According to a recent Time magazine article, about 1 in 10 Americans deals with chronic back pain.

In fact, Americans spend more than $50 billion each year treating back ailments. Which is likely why back injuries are a continual reason that injured employees seek workers compensation benefits. Further evidence of this is found in a study published by the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases. The study shows that back pain is the leading cause of years lost due to disability.

So what is a California employer to do? After all, an employer needs to run a business and needs a capable healthy workforce in order to do it. However, there are several things that can be done in order to stave off back pain.

Essentially, workers are encouraged to exercise. Since one of the common causes of back pain is being sedentary, a good treatment (and preventative measure) would be exercise. Indeed, employees do not have to participate in Insanity workouts or purchase P90X in order to stay fit. However, regular exercise can help stabilize the muscles that surround the spine and make them less susceptible to injury.  

Also, exercise ostensibly does not come with the risks associated with pain killers and intensive medication, such as narcotic based pain relievers, which an employee can become addicted to.  Moreover, regular exercise can help injured workers heal quicker, which may limit the time they are away from work. 

Source: “This is the No. 1 cause of disability worldwide,” Alexandra Sifferlin, March 25, 2014

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