Musculoskeletal Disorders – A pain in the neck for businesses

Nudjed is a health technology company that specialises in workplace health. At Paramount we’re always looking for ways to make the workplace a less stressful, happier and more creative place to be. We asked Becky from Nudjed to take a look at what employers can do to help their staff avoid a major cause of pain and workplace absence; musculoskeletal disorders.

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Musculoskeletal-related conditions – for example, lower back or joint pain – are the biggest causes of sickness absence in the UK, and make up around 60% of work-related illness. Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) were responsible for 8.3 million lost workdays in the UK in 2013/14.

According to Health and Safety Executive figures, the average worker with an MSD is absent for 16 days per year. MSD-related injury and absence is not specific to sectors with physical labour requirements – one of the leading causes of absence due to back and neck pain is keyboard work. The repetitive nature of working at a computer is also a major factor in limb and joint problems.

Supporting your staff

Early intervention is key with MSD’s. Raising awareness through internal comms, providing good communication tools for reporting low-level issues, and investing in preventative measures are all valid strategies.

Startup Stock PhotoResearch by Fit to Work Europe suggests that 39% of short term absence and 50% of long term absence related to musculoskeletal conditions can be avoided with early intervention.

Employee Benefits Healthcare Research explains that workplaces that invest in preventative measures see huge improvements in rates of MSD absence. Some recommended actions include encouraging good posture, providing ergonomic modern office furniture, and having employees participate in exercise classes such as yoga and Pilates.

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Any exercise that strengthens the core muscles is a good start for preventing back and joint pain. There are also small steps individuals can take each day in order to encourage fitness in the office, improve their posture and reduce their risk of musculoskeletal disorders, including desk-based exercises and encouraging staff to get up and about more.


Improving health in your organisation can have a positive impact on absence levels, engagement and productivity. At Paramount we can help you to create an office design that encourages wellbeing in the workplace. If you want to discover even more about how you can support your staff to be healthier, check out Nudjed Insights.

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