Author(s): Patel S, Greasley K, Watson PJ
Abstract Share this page
Abstract This paper explores the perceived barriers to return to work presented by unemployed patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain. The findings are based on one to one in depth semi-structured interviews conducted with patients from four sites in the UK. Interview data were recorded from 38 patients (15 male, 23 female) aged between 29 and 62 years the sample included patients who had participated in a vocational rehabilitation scheme, those who had refused to participate and a nai ve group. Patients were in receipt of long-term social welfare benefits (incapacity benefits) and recruited via local Job Centres. The mean duration of work absence was over 5 years. The data was transcribed and analysed by means of thematic analysis. Several themes were identified as barriers to return to work from the data including pain related issues, uncertainty (both financial and physical), the healthcare system, interaction with benefits providers, perceptions of employers and personal limitations. The uncertainty and the pain condition itself were the overarching barriers from which other obstacles stemmed. This is the first qualitative study of long term unemployed benefit recipients with chronic pain. Others authors have reported psychosocial factors as barriers to work among disabled populations however, this qualitative study has identified barriers specific to unemployed chronic pain patients. The themes identified will help with the planning and development of future initiatives for returning chronic pain patients to employment.
This article was published in Eur J Pain
and referenced in Journal of Biomusical Engineering