Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are characterized by pain and reduced physical functioning that often results in decreased quality of life. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMDs) are health problems in which working conditions (ie, physically demanding or repetitive activities or a poor work environment) significantly contribute to the onset or progression of the disorder, but are not necessarily the sole cause. Even if work-related environmental factors do not directly cause MSDs, the symptoms can be work relevant (ie, the work can influence the symptoms, or the symptoms can affect the ability to work). WRMDs are burdensome to patients, employers and society as they are associated with high rates of disability, absenteeism, presenteeism, loss of productivity, longer recovery timeframes and workers’ compensation costs. In this Point of View, we argue that physical therapists treating patients with MSDs should adopt a work-focused approach. There is ample evidence showing that being employed is associated with better health.1 Physical therapists can improve the health-related quality of life for patients with MSDs through adopting a work-focused approach and promoting participation in work.
Hutting, N., Boucaut, R., Gross, D., Heerkens, Y., Johnston, V., Skamagki, G., & Stigmar, K. (2020). Work-Focused Health Care: The Role of Physical Therapists. Physical Therapy (PTJ) , (In-Press), (In-Press). https://doi.org/10.1093/ptj/pzaa166