Work-limiting musculoskeletal pain and its association with loss of paid employment among senior workers: prospective cohort study with register follow-up

Sebastian Venge Skovlund*, Jonas Vinstrup, Emil Sundstrup, Lars Louis Andersen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: A growing population of elderly necessitates a sharpened focus on sustainable employment through aging. Physically demanding work can be challenging, especially for senior workers. Establishing determinants of labor market participation could guide policy development and preventive efforts at the workplaces aiming at keeping senior workers longer in the labor market. METHODS: We used data from SeniorWorkingLife, a comprehensive questionnaire survey among a representative sample of Danish +50-year workers, and investigated the prospective association between self-reported work limitations due to musculoskeletal pain ('work-limiting pain') in 2018 and register-based loss of paid employment before state pension age at 2-year follow-up among +50-year Danish workers with physically demanding work (n = 3050). RESULTS: Results showed that work-limiting pain increased the risk of loss of paid employment before the state pension age in a progressive manner, i.e. the higher degree of work-limiting pain, the higher risk of loss of paid employment (P < 0.001). Experiencing a low degree of work-limiting pain was associated with an 18% increased risk of loss of paid employment [risk ratio (RR): 1.18, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.14-1.21], whereas experiencing a very high degree of work-limiting pain increased the risk of loss of paid employment by 155% (RR: 2.55, 95% CI: 2.43-2.69) compared to no work-limiting pain. CONCLUSION: In conclusion, work-limiting pain constitutes an important risk factor for loss of paid employment among senior workers with physically demanding work, and effective preventive efforts at both policy and workplace levels should be documented and implemented.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Volume33
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)606–611
ISSN1101-1262
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023

Keywords

  • Aged
  • Child, Preschool
  • Employment
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Musculoskeletal Pain/epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Workplace

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