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Workers

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders are the primary cause of work-related disability1-2.

In fact, according to the CIHR, MSK conditions alone accounted for 10.3% of the total economic burden of all illnesses in Canada3, including treatment, rehabilitation and lost time. The prevalence of back pain and related costs has been increasing exponentially, and are expected to continue to increase. Unfortunately, MSK conditions affect everyone and are not industry specific. In fact, MSK conditions are the primary reason for claims among workers in most provinces across Canada4.

Sitting

Sedentary work and sitting for extended periods have been linked to a number of health concerns, including the impact on MSK health. The impacts can be significant and contribute to greater risk of injury and pain, among others.

Notably, jobs in which employees sit for long periods cause back and neck pain. In fact, MSK conditions are more prevalent amongst sedentary workers accounting for one third of lost time5,6.

In reality, jobs that require employees to sit for extended periods of time can put these individuals at risk for developing MSK conditions. Employees can, however, decrease the impact of sitting by:

  • standing while on the phone or during lunch
  • taking frequent breaks to move around
  • trying a standing desk, if appropriate
  • introducing physical activity into your schedule either before or after work

How Can Chiropractic Expertise Help Me?

Chiropractic is an accessible and effective treatment for MSK conditions, including low back pain, with reported high patient satisfaction. In fact, studies have shown that patients receiving chiropractic care return to work faster and at a less overall cost8,9. As MSK experts, chiropractors specialize in spinal care and are the preferred provider for the assessment, diagnosis and management of back pain, injuries and related conditions. As part of a comprehensive plan of management, chiropractors can provide advice and guidance on preventing work-related injuries that may include workplace ergonomics, stretches and exercises to keep employees healthy.

Reduce neck and low back pain: Conservative spinal adjustments and manual mobilization of joints as well as soft tissue therapy can help alleviate symptoms and, restore function as well as improve posture.

Ensure a faster return to work: Studies have demonstrated the patients under chiropractic care return to work faster8,9. The multi-modal approach including adjustments, combined with an exercise/rehabilitation plan and lifestyle and occupational modifications has been shown to be effective in treating employees of various sectors.

Prevent reoccurrence: As MSK experts, chiropractors are trained to assess movement, function and occupational demands, including ergonomics, to create a better work environment to decrease the risks of developing MSK conditions. For example, chiropractors can advise you on an ergonomic chair, back supports and proper height to keep your vision on your work without hunching or straining your neck, as well as educating you on proper posture and how to keep your spine healthy.

Benefits of Chiropractic as Part of Employee Healthcare Plans:

The benefits to employees are numerous; however, these also extend to employers. It has been demonstrated that chiropractic use and coverage have been associated with decrease in overall premium costs and improved productivity10. Also, the value is also reflected in decrease absenteeism and disability. Employers are encouraged to look at the work environment and activities of employees to determine the risks of injury and related need for appropriate care.


1. Franche, R., Hogg-Johnson, S., Breslin, C., Mustard, C., Côté, P. (2006). Determinants of return-to-work: Applying the readiness for change model. Institute for Work & Health.
2. McGee, R., Bevan, S., Quadrello, T. (2011). Fit for work? Musculoskeletal disorders and the Canadian labour market. Retrieved from https://www.conferenceboard.ca/Libraries/NETWORK_PUBLIC/CCDPM_report2_jul2011.sflb 
3. Canadian Institutes of Health Research. ARCHIVED - Health Research - Investing in Canada's Future 2004-2005: Arthritis. Ottawa: CIHR; 2012 [updated 23 November 20063 July 2012]; Available from: https://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/documents/arthritis_mpkit_2005_e.pdf https://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca.
4. Health Canada (1998). Economic burden of illness in Canada. Ottawa: Health Canada.
5. Cleland, J. Childs, J. Frtiz, J. Emberhart, S. Development of a clinical prediction rule for guiding treatment of a subgroup of patients with neck pain: use of thoracic spine manipulation, exercise, and patient education. Physical Therapy.2007 Jan;87(1):9-23 
6. Lutteman, A., Jager, M., Griefahn, B. 
Preventing musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace. Protecting Workers' Health Series No. 5.2003 
7. Rubenstein SM, Van Middelkoop M et al. (2011) Spinal Manipulative Therapy for Chronic Low-Back Pain: An Update of a Cochrane Review Spine (36)13:E825-E846.
8. Nyiendo, J. (1991). Disabling Low Back Oregon Workers’ Compensation Claims Part II: Time Loss. JMPT, 14(4): 231-239. 
9. WSIB. (2004). Program of Care for Acute Low Back Injuries One-Year Evaluation Report.
10. Legoretta, A., Metz, D., Nelson, C., et al. (2004). Comparative analysis of individuals with and without chiropractic coverage. Arch Intern Med, 164: 1985-1992.
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