Returning to work after long term sickness absence due to low back pain - the struggle within: A qualitative study of the patient's experience

Ryan, CG, Lauchlan, D, Rooney, L, Hollins-Martin, CJ and Gray, H 2014, 'Returning to work after long term sickness absence due to low back pain - the struggle within: A qualitative study of the patient's experience' , Work, 49 (3) , pp. 433-444.

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Low back pain (LBP) is a major cause of work absence. Assisting individuals back into work is an important part of rehabilitation. OBJECTIVE: To explore the experiences of individuals returning to work after an episode of sickness absence due to LBP. PARTICIPANTS: Five women employed by a UK University who had returned to work. METHOD: In this qualitative study, participants underwent semi-structured interviews about their experiences. The transcripts were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. RESULTS: Two primary themes emerged 1) perceived pressure to return to work and 2) strategies employed to relieve the pressure to return. Pressure to return to work arose from a number of sources including guilt and a personal work ethic, internally, and from colleagues and management, externally. This pressure led to the individual employing a number of strategies to reduce it. These ranged from a simple denial of health concerns and decision to return to work regardless of their condition, to placing the responsibility of the decision not to return to work onto a significant other, such as a family member or health care professional. CONCLUSIONS: Individuals returning to work with LBP experience considerable pressure to return and use a range of strategies to mediate that pressure.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work & Social Sciences
Journal or Publication Title: Work
Publisher: IOS Press
ISSN: 1051-9815
Depositing User: WM Taylor
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2016 12:52
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2016 12:52
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/40584

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