Pain is the top cause of adult disability in the United States, costing the workforce as much as $334 billion each year in lost productivity costs, according to a 2012 study. While the musculoskeletal “pain points,” such as back pain and carpal tunnel, are well known and their direct costs well-documented, there has been less emphasis on—or awareness of—the secondary or mental health effects of pain: anxiety, depression, unclear thinking and memory loss.
Even what someone might consider mild discomfort or irritation can cause these secondary effects and can affect everything from sleep to diet to exercise. As a result, these conditions can—and often do—impinge on the workplace, with symptoms manifesting themselves in form of diminished employee morale, focus and performance.
There is also a “compounding effect”—the more pain persists, the more of an impact it can have. It may become a vicious cycle, as discomfort in one area causes problems in another. Employees who are suffering and unable to work miss out not only on the income, but also the sense of meaning, purposefulness and belonging that can be gained from a job. Initial distress may lead to chronic anxiety and even depression.
Those who are able to work may only be there in body, unable to focus and perform as expected. This is known as presenteeism and it can be an even greater drag on productivity than absenteeism. In fact, according to a recent report, the cost of presenteeism to businesses is 10 times higher than that of absenteeism and amounts to as much as 57.5 days lost per employee each year.
For more information on combatting the effects of chronic pain in the workplace, contact Comprehensive Pain Management in Franklin, MA.
Source: Risk Managment Magazine