How to Relieve Back Pain at Work and Win
How to relieve back pain at work is a question that more and more people are asking themselves. Perhaps you are one of them. This post will help you find the answer.
However, before I go on I want to ask you another question. Are you familiar with BDRQ? If not, let me start by defining it for you: It refers to The Back Disability Risk Questionnaire for Work-Related, Acute Back Pain.
The BDRQ is “a brief (16-item) patient questionnaire that provides a self-assessment of factors related to prognosis for work-related back pain. Factors include background demographics, physical health risks, workplace factors, pain, mood, and expectations for recovery.” 
What This Means to You in Learning How to Relieve Back Pain at Work
The reason I wanted to define it and why you need to know about this is, as I said, work related back pain is a growing concern that might effect you or someone you care about. You need to be aware of tools, such as the BDRQ, that can help you understand factors that are associated with return to work among people with back pain.
Here’s what I mean:
Imagine that you have a great job, and then out of no where you have the bad fortune of suffering from back pain.
Freaking mind game, that’s like being stuck in a hotel with all the people that you can’t stand in your life and there’s no way out. So, it’s bad enough that this condition is messing with your head and it’s literally a pain—if not in the butt, close enough. Now you have to mange it so it doesn’t risk your job. How are you going to do that?
Here is Where The BDRQ Comes in
It will help you assess if you’re on the brink of chronic pain and disability. This is a big deal because it means you can stop things from becoming worse by a change in behavior. It can mean the difference between having an annoying back problem which you can manage and keep working or something that can put you out of commission and a job.
This is How it Works to Relieve Back Pain at Work
It is designed to be administered within the first 14 days after pain onset, and takes into consideration all work place factors with a 3 month follow up. This way concerns about stress, re-injury, RTW( return to work) that might increase the risk of persistent back pain can be addressed. For more information on RTW check out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RTW_PlaceRite_Alternative_Return-To-Work
Consider these examples:
Not reporting injury. Hesitance to report a work-related pain problem out of concerns of unfair treatment or diminished opportunities for advancement.
In other words, someone may not tell the boss that they are having problems with their back for fear of being overlooked for promotion. On a cold practical level this is foolish because most workers’ compensation claims have a deadline by which paper work has to be submitted. On a more human level there’s some thing very important to consider.
Most of the time the boss would’ve offered to temporarily reduce the physical demands of the job and made RTW a lot easier. A BDRQ would have caught the problem and there’s growing evidence that in most cases the employer would have taken steps to ensure a stressless transition injury to work. Feeling that you are useful is a big step in ensuring a faster recovery.
Relationships with coworkers. One of the things that a BDRQ will pick up is your relationships with supervisors and coworkers who might provide assistance and advice. 
If you have have established relationships with those that worked with or supervised your pre-injury, they might provide opportunities for you to have alternative work until your back heals. This is much better than going at it alone and working in pain. For more details look at the video above.
Expectations of Recovery. People who fear returning to physical work will lead to more serious injury, may develop a similar problem as seniors who, having fallen, develop a fear of falling and are in greater risk of falling.
So too may a worker with the fear of injury increase his or her absence from work. This may in turn delay recovery. A BDRQ would detect this emotional obstacle to returning to work and perhaps one would realize that they need help to device a coping strategy that would aid their recovery.
The bottom line is that one needs to be emotionally invested in his or her own recovery and believe that they can in fact get better.
No Experience for Alternative work. It’s great if one is given the opportunity to do alternative work that is less stressful on their back, giving it time to heal.
What if one just doesn’t have the experience to do alternative work? One can ask for the opportunity to train in a new department.
Most organizations will allow that for a worker in good standing. A BDRQ would have allowed a person to know such a fact as it relates to his or her company.
Going back to work after a back injury is a scary and confusing thing. Without an intervention strategy from the time of the initial injury to the follow up period, usually 3 months, one may not on their own be able to identify the emotional factors that will make a transition to recovery easier or harder.
A tool such as a BDRQ is a powerful and effective way for someone to give themselves the best chance of success because it catches what was missed in the initial medical diagnosis. It’s not the only tool out there, but it is the one that is focused on showing people how they can learn to relieve back pain at work.
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I like to hear from the readers so please leave me a comment below to let me know if this post helped you or if you have any questions.
Shaw WS, Pransky G, Patterson W, Winters T. Early disability risk factors for low back pain assessed at outpatient occupational health clinics. Spine. 2005;30: 572–580.
2 The Back Disability Risk Questionnaire for Work-Related, Acute Back Pain: Prediction of Unresolved Problems at 3-Month Follow-Up
William S. Shaw, PhD
Glenn Pransky, MD, MOccH Thomas Winters, MD, MPH