Musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries and disorders can be devastating for Canadian workers and their families, taking a heavy toll on their health and well-being. Lost time and productivity at work, and even early retirement, carries financial implications that also extend to employers and their businesses. In fact, work-related MSK injuries and disorders cost Canadian employers billions of dollars every year.1 In addition to the direct costs of lost time, productivity and early retirement, there are also the indirect costs of hiring, training and retraining. The fact that MSK conditions are the primary reason for insurance claims by workers across Canada2 points to how important it is for workplaces to have a strategy for dealing with these types of injuries and conditions among workers.
Early chiropractic intervention can have a huge impact on successfully managing work-related MSK injuries or conditions. The reality, however, is that most workers who suffer MSK conditions will continue to work rather than take time off to heal and seek prompt treatment.3 According to a 2011 report from The Work Foundation, not only can a worker’s performance suffer, but the resulting decrease in stamina, reduced mobility and diminished cognition and concentration could put the individual at risk of further injury, and potentially create an unsafe environment for co-workers.4
The good news is that Canada’s chiropractors can provide a viable solution.
Numerous studies show us that it makes sense to include chiropractic coverage in Extended Health Care (EHC) plans, and to make appropriate care accessible for employees. Doing so not only diminishes the costs of missed days and reduced productivity, but, according to a 2010 study conducted by Blue Cross Tennessee, costs per episode for workers who received chiropractic treatment were 40% lower.5 Injured workers who are treated by a chiropractor also return to work faster than those treated by medical intervention2 and are less likely to have surgery and back pain.
Due to their extensive training, chiropractors are musculoskeletal experts. Making chiropractic care part of the workplace health and wellness strategy can result in decreased annual healthcare costs for employers, lowered overall utilization of imaging (such as MRIs)6, effective management of pain and disability, and reduced risks of recurrence or chronicity.
Even if your EHC plan already includes chiropractic care, incorporating a prevention strategy in your workplace is worth considering. Many chiropractors across the country provide expert advice to managers and employees on ergonomics, health and lifestyle in the form of public education, as well as ensuring in-office follow-up for employees needing care for MSK conditions.
Have you heard about the free posture app developed with Canada’s chiropractors by the Canadian Chiropractic Association and 10 provincial associations? Straighten Up Canada helps to combat the negative effects of sedentary work with 12 easy exercises that can be done in three minutes daily – it’s a fast and simple routine that can be integrated easily into the workday! Get the app here.
Keep your workforce healthy and productive. Contact your benefits administrator and get chiropractic services covered as part of your healthcare plan. Also, consider developing an ongoing health and wellness strategy that brings chiropractic expertise right to your doorstep. Make sure you’ve got your employees’ backs!
1. Health Canada. Economic burden of illness in Canada. 1998, Ottawa: Health Canada.
2. McGee R, Bevan S, Quadrello T. Fit For Work? Musculoskeletal Disorders and the Canadian Labour Market, 2009 The Work Foundation
3. Nyiendo J. Disabling Low Back Oregon Workers’ Compensation Claims Part II: Time Loss. 1991, JMPT, 14(4): 231-239.
4. Richard L. Liliedahl, et. al., “Cost of Care for Common Back Pain Conditions Initiated With Chiropractic Doctor vs Medical Doctor/Doctor of Osteopathy as First Physician: Experience of One Tennessee-Based General Health Insurer,” Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics, Volume 33, Issue 9, Pages 640–643, November–December, 2010.
5. Dynamic Chiropractic, “Study Suggests Chiropractic Reduces Health Care Costs, Need for Surgery,” August 26, 2009, Vol. 27, Issue 18.