I dropped out of college after two semesters because I could tell I just wasn't cut out for Wall Street. I'm perfectly happy working in a big box store waiting on customers and stocking shelves. All the other workers assure me that sooner or later I'll hurt my back. If that really happens, would I be out of work? If that's the case, then maybe I should go back to school and finish my business degree.
Back pain is so common, experts predict that 80 per cent of all adults around the world will experience at least one episode sometime in their lives. Millions of hours and days are lost to work disability from back pain each year in the United States and elsewhere.
Researchers in many developed countries are busy trying to find ways to prevent episodes of back pain. An equally important study topic is getting workers back on-the-job as soon as possible and avoiding a chronic back pain problem.
In general, the prognosis is good and 80 to 90 per cent of workers are able to return to work after a very short period of rest. In fact, unless the back pain is coming from a bone fracture, tumor, or infection, they are advised to stay as active as possible. Getting back to work as quickly as possible is another goal.
Only a small number of people end up with chronic pain. Blue-collar workers who develop fear-avoidance behaviors and/or who went on sick leave during the first 90 days of pain onset have the highest risk of delayed recovery. Fear-avoidance refers to changes in motion or the development of altered movement patterns that occur as a result of fear of reinjury or the belief that certain movements will cause pain.
Just because you develop back pain, doesn't mean you'll lose your job or your livelihood. Working with a rehabilitation specialist such as a physical therapist can help identify patients early who are at risk of chronic pain and disability and get them back up to full speed ahead in a short period of time.