Objective: The objective of this study was to examine the burden of pain on employee health and productivity at a Fortune 100 company headquartered in the northeastern United States to prioritize target areas for reducing this burden.
Methods: An electronic survey was conducted in late 2004, which produced a reasonably representative national sample of 1039 active employee respondents.
Results: A total of 28.6% of respondents met the study definition for pain. Pain was linked to: 1) drops of more than 45% and 23%, respectively, in Overall Physical and Mental Health; 2) a fivefold increase in health-induced limitations in work performance; and 3) nearly three and two thirds workdays lost to presenteeism and absenteeism over a 4-week period. Afflicted workers displayed considerable room for improvement in their capacity for pain control and management.
Conclusions: The prevalence of pain and its impact on those with the condition combine to make it an area of much opportunity for improving workforce health and productivity. Musculoskeletal diseases offer a promising initial target for corporate intervention.