Back Pain in the Workplace

Over 180 million working days are lost each year through back pain in the workplace and RSI, at great cost to the economy. Timely and appropriate preventative care would save the economy millions of these lost workdays. Yet the potential contribution of thousands of highly-trained osteopaths has been largely overlooked by industry. Potential cost savings to the economy are considerable.

Work, whether at a computer terminal or in heavy industry, can give rise to disorders of, for example, muscles, ligaments and joints, particularly in the back, hands and arms. Osteopaths treat many conditions related to the workplace and can offer remedial advice and preventative exercise.

Can businesses afford not to listen?

• Back problems and RSI are a £5 billion burden on industry. Bad backs are not just excruciatingly painful for individuals, they are also extremely costly for business left without key workers. Osteopaths already play a important role in many company health teams; smaller companies are benefiting from liaison with their local osteopaths.

Can Government afford not to listen?

• It is estimated that Government spends about £480 million a year on services used by sufferers of back pain alone; this includes approximately 14 million GP consultations, seven million physical therapy sessions and 800,000 in-patient beds . This does not include state benefits paid to those unemployed and disabled by these conditions.

Involving an osteopath in staff care can lead to a fitter workforce and improve morale, increase productivity and mean less time off through ill-health. Speedy intervention for an acute patient can prevent the condition becoming chronic.


  • DSS Analytical Services Division 1999
  • Report of the Clinical Standards Advisory Group Committee on Back Pain 1994