It seems like every day a new article is published highlighting the risks to our health associated with sitting. This can be problematic considering that a large number of Canadians’ work involves countless hours sitting in front of a computer screen. Sitting for extended periods of time may increase pressure on the spinal discs that can lead to pain and discomfort, as well as potential secondary impacts on the entire musculoskeletal (MSK) system. Office workers who spend hours at the computer risk developing pain and stiffness in the cervical spine or in the lumbar region of the back — commonly referred to as low back pain (LBP).
In fact, work-related MSK disorders are the leading cause of work-related disability1 and health insurance claims of Canadian workers.2 Not only is a sedentary work environment more likely to cause MSK conditions,3 the conditions account for one-third of lost work productivity.4
Chiropractic Care for Workers
Studies show that chiropractic care for work-related MSK conditions not only allows patients to return to work faster than standard medical treatment,7,8 but also provides substantial savings in overall healthcare costs9 while reducing the risk of recurrence.6 Chiropractors have the expertise to effectively treat MSK conditions caused by prolonged sitting, as well as other work-related mechanisms of injury. Moreover, part of the management plan will focus on establishing a return-to-work plan with the patient and identify self-management strategies. Read more about preventing work-related MSK conditions.
Straighten Up Canada!
The simplest thing you can do to help safeguard yourself against work-related MSK conditions is to make sure you keep moving during the day. One great strategy is to incorporate exercises into your daily routine. Canada’s chiropractors have developed a great resource. The Straighten Up Canada app is available for free download from the iTunes/Apple App Store or Google Play. The app provides simple exercises to achieve better posture and avoid neck and low back pain while at work.
Access to Chiropractic Treatment for Neck & Low Back Pain
We believe that every Canadian should have a chiropractor on their healthcare team, because they can provide effective care. However, to do so, systems need to support the enhancement of access to such services. Some preliminary projects in various provincial jurisdictions are looking to do just that. To see some of these initiatives, check out our blog about how chiropractic can contribute to healthcare sustainability.
Currently, most Canadians access chiropractic care through either partial public or private funding:
- Public funding: Chiropractic is not universally covered in Canada, although numerous provinces will offer partial coverage for sub-groups like seniors or low-income Canadians. Find your provincial association for information on your province.
- Extended Health Care Plans/Benefits: If you have an Extended Health Care (EHC) plans through your employer, union or trade/professional association, chiropractic may be included. Ask your employer about your coverage. Plans can also be purchased by individuals.
- Did you know that Extended Health Care Plans
- Are Canada’s #1 source of 3rd party coverage
- Cover around 70% of Canadians10
- Paid over $56.9 billion in healthcare costs in 201011
- Are the largest non-governmental financial contributor to Canadian healthcare11
- Out-of-pocket: Many Canadians have successfully managed work-related MSK conditions by seeking chiropractic treatment individually.
Do you experience work-related back pain? Find a chiropractor near you.
1. Franche R., Hogg-Johnson S., Bresli, C., Mustard C., Côté P. Determinants of return-to-work: Applying the readiness for change model. Institute for Work & Health, 2006
2. Health Canada. Economic burden of illness in Canada. Ottawa: Health Canada. 1998
3. Cleland J, Childs J, Fritz 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
4. Lutteman A., Jager M., Griefahn B. Preventing musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace. Protecting Workers' Health Series No. 5. 2003
5. The Institute for Work & Health (IWH), Neck Pain Evidence Summary, 2010
6. Beaudet N, Courteau J, Sarret P and Vanasse, A. Prevalence of claims-based recurrent low back pain in a Canadian population: A secondary analysis of an administrative database. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2013, 14:151
7. Nyiendo J. Disabling Low Back Oregon Workers’ Compensation Claims Part II: Time Loss. JMPT, 1991, 14(4): 231-239.
8. WSIB. Program of Care for Acute Low Back Injuries One-Year Evaluation Report. 2004
9. Legoretta A, Metz D, Nelson C, et al. Comparative analysis of individuals with and without chiropractic coverage. Arch Intern Med, 2004, 164: 1985-1992.
10. CIHI. Health care in Canada, 2000
11. Sanmartin C, Hennessy D, Lu Y, Law M. Trends in out-of-pocket health care expenditure in Canada, by household income, 1997 to 2009. 2014, http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-003-x/2014004/article/11924-eng.htm.