Ergonomics Research/studies Worker health and wellness Musculoskeletal disorders

Non-drug interventions for arthritis can help workers stay on the job: study

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Helsinki, Finland – Adaptations to the work environment, as well as consultations and counseling, can help employees with inflammatory arthritis to continue working, according to a study from the Cochrane Occupational Safety and Health Review Group.

Researchers analyzed 414 arthritis sufferers who took part in three trials. Each trial measured how the work environment could be adapted and then offered counseling for arthritis-related problems at work. The first trial included a pair of one-and-a-half-hour sessions in five months, the second trial included two consultations in three months, and the third trial provide six individual or group sessions in six months.

Although the data was mixed, researchers said, long-term follow-up indicated that non-drug strategies could help prevent job loss among arthritis sufferers.

Experts emphasized that more research is needed regarding non-pharmaceutical interventions to ease the pain caused by inflammatory arthritis, which includes rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and other conditions. The diseases typically cause stiffening and swelling in the joints and often develop when patients are in their 30s – with many years remaining in their careers.

The study was published online Nov. 6 in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.