Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

The Course of Work Absenteeism Involving Neck Pain: A Cohort Study of Ontario Lost-Time Claimants

Van Eerd, Dwayne, MSc*,†; Côté, Pierre, PhD; Kristman, Vicki, PhD†,‡; Rezai, Mana, DC, PhD (C)†,‡; Hogg-Johnson, Sheilah, PhD*,†; Vidmar, Marjan, MSc*; Beaton, Dorcas, PhD*,§

doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e3181e9b831
Health Services Research
Buy
SDC

Study Design. Cohort study.

Objective. To describe the course of lost-time claims involving neck pain in workers compensated by the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).

Summary of Background Data. The prevalence of neck pain in workers varies from 27.1% to 47.8%. Very little is known about the course of work absenteeism related to neck pain.

Methods. Our cohort included 5761 injured workers with an incident lost-time claim to the WSIB in 1997 and 1998. Claimants were followed for 2 years. We measured the cumulative time on lost-time benefits using the Kaplan–Meier method and described the number and duration of episodes on benefits.

Results. The median cumulative time-on-benefits for the cohort was 13 days (95% CI: 13–14). The cumulative time on benefits was shorter for men than women and for younger than older workers. 14.2% of claimants experienced multiple episodes of work absenteeism during the 2 years after the initial claim. The median time on benefits for claimants with a single episode was 11 days (95% CI: 10–11). The median length of the first episode on benefits was longer for claimants with multiple episodes (19–22 days) compared with those with a single episode (11 days). Age was positively associated with longer time-on-benefits in claimants with a single episode of work absenteeism.

Conclusion. Most injured workers who make a workers' compen-sation claim that involves neck pain do not make a second claim in the subsequent 2 years. However, an important minority (14.2%) experience multiple episodes of work absenteeism and these workers accrue 40.4% of all lost-time days. Recurrent claims involving neck pain represent a significant burden of disability in Ontario.

Very little is known about the course of work absenteeism related to neck pain. In a cohort of 5761 injured workers with incident lost-time neck claims we found an important minority (14.2%) experience multiple episodes of work absenteeism. Recurrent neck pain claims represent a significant burden of disability in Ontario.

*Institute for Work & Health

Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto

Centre of Research Expertise in Improved Disability Outcomes (CREIDO), University Health Network

§Li Ki Shing Institute of Knowledge, Mobility Program Clinical Research Unit, St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dwayne Van Eerd, MSc, Institute for Work & Health, 481 University Ave, Suite 800, Toronto, ON M5G 2E9, Canada; E-mail: dvaneerd@iwh.on.ca.

Supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research through a Fellowship Award and by the Centre of Research Expertise in Improved Disability Outcomes, which receives funds from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario and the University Health Network (V.K.). Supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research through a New Investigator Award (P.C.).

Acknowledgement date: December 7, 2009. Revised date: April 1, 2010. Accepted date: May 3, 2010.

The manuscript submitted does not contain information about medical device(s)/drug(s).

No benefits in any form have been or will be received from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this manuscript.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.