Suffering from Back Pain? It could Mean Unhappiness at Work, Experts Say

By Amy Taylor on April 24, 2012

Researchers from the University of Western Australia and the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research (WAIMR) found that people who are unhappy at work are prone to severe back pain on a regular basis.

The findings show that 33 percent of people complaining about non-specific backache developed persistent pain which has greatly affected their social lives and career.

Most Patients Lack Medical Proof for Back Pain

The study involved 315 patients who reported non-specific back pain. Some also reported having experienced severe back pain after six months. They were interviewed and followed up after three, six, and twelve weeks. At the beginning of the study, researchers also assessed the participants’ attitude and perception towards work. Although they were given extended sick leaves, only a few of the workers were diagnosed with physical problems like having a slipped disc. Based on the anatomical tests which were conducted, doctors found no reason for back pain.

Professor Markus Melloh, the head researcher pointed out that attitude has a big impact on the onset of lower back pain. ‘Positive thinking would make people better’, he added.  Someone who is positive about his work does not give so much attention to their back pain. If they suffer from it occasionally, they just let it pass, thinking it’ll go away by itself. On the other hand, unhappy workers who niggle about backache would normally request for sick leave. And once they stay at home, the pain gets worse. As a result, they will need more sick leaves, explained Dr Melloh.

Work Positivity and Back Pain

Most people would agree that physical pain can lead to bad mood. But on this specific study, it’s the other way around. Lack of positive feelings particularly when it comes to their job seems to show in the employees’ physical wellbeing.  ’If an employee has the option to alter their workplace or job design, the condition may correct itself due to the person regaining positivity’, said Dr Melloh. The researchers claimed that there’s no other process that takes place in the body where feelings and emotions lead to physical pain.

However, Dr Mello insisted that resigning is not always the solution. He encourages workers to do some alterations in their current role. For him, emotional support at work is a strong factor that can lessen the risk of non-specific back pain.

There were a very few methods used to obtain medical proof behind back pain. ’Back pain is just people telling you they have pain in the back’, said Mr. Melloh. He suggests that if people will learn how to cope with their situations instead of ruminating on them, they can develop positivity towards work. And finally, get away from stern back pain.

 

Source of this article:

Unhappy work a pain in the back, University News, by University of Western Australia

 

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