The burden of pain on employee health and productivity at a major provider of business services

J Occup Environ Med. 2005 Jul;47(7):658-70. doi: 10.1097/01.jom.0000171054.57677.4c.


Objective: The objective of this study was to examine the burden of pain on employee health and productivity at a Fortune 100 company headquartered in the northeastern United States to prioritize target areas for reducing this burden.

Methods: An electronic survey was conducted in late 2004, which produced a reasonably representative national sample of 1039 active employee respondents.

Results: A total of 28.6% of respondents met the study definition for pain. Pain was linked to: 1) drops of more than 45% and 23%, respectively, in Overall Physical and Mental Health; 2) a fivefold increase in health-induced limitations in work performance; and 3) nearly three and two thirds workdays lost to presenteeism and absenteeism over a 4-week period. Afflicted workers displayed considerable room for improvement in their capacity for pain control and management.

Conclusions: The prevalence of pain and its impact on those with the condition combine to make it an area of much opportunity for improving workforce health and productivity. Musculoskeletal diseases offer a promising initial target for corporate intervention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism*
  • Adult
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Data Collection
  • Efficiency*
  • Employment*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Male
  • New England / epidemiology
  • Pain / classification*
  • Pain / drug therapy
  • Pain / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents