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The human and financial toll of MSK issues in the workplace

More than 33% of employers in the United States have transitioned to self-funded insurance plans in an effort to better manage skyrocketing healthcare costs. Unfortunately, one in two adult Americans suffer from musculoskeletal (MSK) issues1 and these bone and joint disorders are becoming a major challenge for HR benefits professionals charged with controlling employee healthcare costs.

While those who suffer from MSK issues bear the largest toll, employers end up shouldering significant burdens well beyond the increased healthcare costs:

  • employees who miss work (absenteeism)
  • employees who are unable to be productive at work (presenteeism)
  • workers compensation claims
  • employee disability
  • staff training and replacement costs

Common workplace-related bone and joint disorders.

Bone and joint disorders affect nearly all industries, but are known to be particularly common in jobs that include repetitive motions, such as typing on a computer, moving or packing boxes in a warehouse, and truck driving.

Some of the more common workplace-related bone and joint disorders include:

  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • back pain
  • osteoarthritis
  • osteoporosis
  • tendonitis
  • tension neck syndrome

Many of the more common MSK issues can be prevented and treated with relative ease if people have access to the physical therapy treatments that are proven effective. Unfortunately, in the United States, physical therapy isn’t always the first option that people are pointed toward when they complain of MSK issue symptoms. Instead, many physicians refer people to expensive specialists who end up prescribing the need for additional doctor visits and imaging procedures.

In actuality, starting with a physical therapy course of treatment rather than an MRI can reduce healthcare costs by 72% without compromising clinical outcomes.2

The MSK link to employee mental health.

Living with physical pain can lead to side effects such as fear, anxiety, depression, and more serious mental health issues. Employees who are able to work “through” the pain often begin to exhibit symptoms related to presenteeism, such as taking extended or more frequent breaks from work, being unable to focus, and experiencing a decline in efficiency at routine work tasks.
Some of the mental health conditions associated with MSK disorders can result in increased pain sensitivity, higher levels of perceived stress, and a reduced ability to cope with illness. And for self-insured employers, this means coping with extended recovery times, increased costs, and compounding lost productivity.

A digital MSK solution for employers.

With the human and financial tolls of MSK so apparent, it’s not surprising to learn that 51% of large employers are looking for virtual MSK solutions to offer better care to employees and contain costs.3

To learn more about how your company can offer employees the right MSK care, at the right time, reach out to Keet today to schedule a demo of our digital MSK solution that works to reduce the human and financial toll of musculoskeletal disorders.

    1. Bone & Joint Initiative
    2. NCBI
    3. Business Group on Health