Regular Use of Medication for Musculoskeletal Pain and Risk of Long-term Sickness Absence
Written by Editor   
Friday, December 09, 2016 12:00 AM

News Bite: This study found that the use of pain medication, not necessarily the intensity of the pain, was associated with long-term sickness absence.


The aim of this study was to determine the prospective association between use of pain medication – due to musculoskeletal pain in the low back, neck/shoulder and hand/wrist – and long-term sickness absence (LTSA).

In 2010, the proportion of regular pain medication users due to musculoskeletal disorders was 20.8%: 13.4% as over-the-counter (i.e. non-prescription) and 7.4% as doctor prescribed. In the fully adjusted model, regular use of over-the-counter and doctor prescribed pain medication were prospectively associated with LTSA.

Regular use of pain medication due to musculoskeletal pain is prospectively associated with long-term sickness absence even when adjusted for pain intensity. 

This study suggests that use of pain medication can be an important factor to be aware of in the prevention of sickness absence. Thus, regular use of pain medication – and not solely the intensity of pain – can be an early indicator that musculoskeletal pain can lead to serious consequences such as long-term sickness absence. Use of medication due to musculoskeletal pain is prospectively associated with long-term sickness absence, even when adjusted for pain intensity. Use of pain medication can be a red flag to be aware of in the prevention of sickness absence.


Source:  http://chiro.org/wordpress/2016/11/regular-use-of-medication-for-musculoskeletal-pain-and-risk-of-long-term-sickness-absence-a-prospective-cohort-study-among-the-general-working-population/