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RR399 - Improved early pain management for musculoskeletal disorders

This report examines the usefulness of secondary intervention pain management techniques in helping people with musculoskeletal disorders (MSD’s) to stay at work or get back to work in the early stages of an episode. The methodology adopted was mainly that of narrative review to present the latest evidence and authoritative evidence-based guidance addressing such measures and barriers to their implementation. Care Pathways, consistent with our findings, are proposed.

The Pathways are for use in the first few weeks of an episode that threatens, or causes, work loss. They are for employees, employers and (if necessary) health professionals, where the latter can provide assessment and evidence-based intervention within one week of request. The evidence was variable in quality across the spectrum of MSDs, with upper limb disorders in need of the greatest development. As well as effective care for these disorders, we have taken into consideration their natural history and barriers to positive outcome.

This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.

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Updated 2010-03-19