How do Employees with Chronic Musculoskeletal Disorders Experience the Management of Their Condition in the Workplace? A Metasynthesis

Glykeria Skamagki, Christine Carpenter, Andrew King, Charlotte Wåhlin

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This metasynthesis contributes to an understanding of the experiences, perceptions, and attitudes of employees on managing chronic musculoskeletal disorders (CMSDs) at work. Many studies in this field are concerned with prevention or return-to-work (RTW) programmes. However, the purpose of this review was to synthesise evidence that only focuses on the employees' management of their CMSDs at work. The SPIDER framework was used to structure the question "How do employees with CMSDs experience the management of their condition in the workplace"? The literature search focused on articles published between 2011 and 2021, and the search was conducted using the following databases: MEDLINE, SCOPUS, CINAHL, AMED, PsycINFO. The review identified nine articles that explored employees' experiences of managing CMSDs at work. Thematic synthesis was used to create analytic themes which provided a more in-depth discussion of these experiences. The identified themes were: 'employees actively seek ways to manage their conditions', 'influence of work environment on employees with CMSDs' and 'optimising the relationship between employees and managers. This metasynthesis suggests that the ability to negotiate workplace support and manage CMSDs at work is influenced by the cultural and social environment of the organisation. Effective communication, care and trust between the employee is needed. The review also illustrated the need for healthcare professionals to provide support to employees at work. [Abstract copyright: © 2023. Crown.]
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)702-712
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Occupational Rehabilitation
Issue number4
Early online date27 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

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  • Qualitative research
  • Workplace
  • Management
  • Chronic musculoskeletal diseases


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