Supported by: NHS

At Work

You are better continuing with activity, including work, even if you are still in some pain. People who remain active have far better outcomes than those who don't.

If you are struggling with back pain:

Use pain killers to help you carry on – it’s the movement that will get you better, and the pain killers will allow you to move by masking the pain.

If you have to go off work sick use that time to get your back better - this might mean going out for walks, to the shops, etc. Don't feel that just because you are off work you should not keep active - you must!

Stay in touch with your workplace. Hopefully your employer will be trying to keep in touch with you as well. Be open-minded about getting back to work as soon as possible. This can be facilitated by changes to your normal job role, hours and even where you work.

The longer you remain off work the more difficult it becomes to get back to work. The day an individual goes off sick (whatever the reason) they have about a 1% chance of still being off work a year later.

Once someone has been off work for six weeks they have a 20% chance of long term disability. This increases to 50% if they have been off for six months. People off work for a year are unlikely to work again for several years.