Frequent Musculoskeletal Pain Tied to Earlier Retirement

Job satisfaction, depressive symptoms, self-perceived social status, sex, and working conditions did not impact results
man holding his back in pain at the desk
man holding his back in pain at the desk

WEDNESDAY, March 20, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Frequent musculoskeletal pain may increase the risk for earlier work exit and earlier retirement, according to a study published online March 20 in PLOS ONE.

Nils Georg Niederstrasser, Ph.D., from the University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom, and colleagues explored the longitudinal relationship between chronic pain and the risk for ceasing work and entering retirement. The analysis included 1,156 individuals (50 years of age and older) participating in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing with 14 years of follow-up.

The researchers found that suffering from frequent musculoskeletal pain was associated with an increased risk for ceasing work and retiring at an earlier age compared with pain-free participants. Other variables associated with early retirement included work dissatisfaction, higher perceived social status, female gender, and not receiving the recognition they felt they deserved in their job. There was no effect observed between severity of depressive symptoms, psychosocial job demands, decision authority, and social support and the age at which participants reported work cessation or retirement.

"Our measure of pain is wider than functionally limiting pain and may suggest that a wider range of pain experiences can also lead to poor work outcomes," the authors write. "Further research should establish the mechanisms and decision-making involved in leaving the workforce in people with frequent musculoskeletal pain."

Abstract/Full Text

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