Outcomes in work-related upper extremity and low back injuries: Results of a retrospective study

Glenn Pransky, Katy Benjamin, Carolyn Hill-Fotouhi, Jay Himmelstein, Kenneth E. Fletcher, Jeffrey N. Katz, William Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

136 Scopus citations


Background: The outcomes of treatment for work-related injuries and illnesses are multidimensional and complex, but have rarely been explored in detail. This study was intended to provide information on a sample of workers representing a range of jobs and employers typical of the workers compensation system. Method: A mailed, self-report survey measuring multiple dimensions was conducted. Identified through the New Hampshire Division of Workers' Compensation First Report of Injury database, a sample of workers with injuries to their lower back (60%) or upper extremities (40%) a year prior to the study were surveyed. Response rate was 80% (N = 169; upper extremity cases = 70; low back cases = 99). Results: Most (82.8%) were working one year post-injury. Over half reported residual effects of the injury on work or activities of daily living. Many working subjects reported persistent injury-related anxiety and pain at the end of the work day, worse in those with low back pain compared to those with upper extremity injuries. Almost 40% of those who returned to work suffered a rein jury. Forty-four percent of respondents suffered significant injury-related financial problems, which were worse in those who had been out of work for longer periods. Conclusion: Occupational musculoskeletal injuries do result in significant, long-term adverse physical, economic, and psychological consequences, as demonstrated in self-reported surveys. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)400-409
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 15 2000


  • Functional status
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Occupational disorders
  • Occupational injuries
  • Outcomes
  • Work disability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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