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Early retirement due to back pain 'has long-term financial implications'
February 2012: People who take early retirement due to back pain face long-term financial implications, new research reveals.
Australian scientists used a computer model to measure the economic impact of ill-health on 45 to 64-year-old workers.
They used data from the 2003 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Careers - a nationally representative survey that included data on 147 people who had left work due to back problems; 168 who worked part-time because of back problems; and 356 who worked full-time despite having back problems.
The researchers estimated the value of retirement wealth that would be available to individuals in each group by age 65.
They calculated that by this age, most people in full-time employment with no health problems would have accumulated some wealth.
However, just 75 to 85 per cent of those forced to quit work because of back problems would be in this same financial position.
People who took early retirement due to back problems would have accumulated far less wealth by the time they were 65 than those who continued in full-time work until this age.
Lead investigator Professor Deborah Schofield, chair of health economics at the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre and Sydney School of Public Health, said: "Relative to those who retired early due to other health problems, there are more than twice as many people who have retired early due to back problems who are estimated to have no savings by the time they reach the traditional retirement age of 65.
"For most of the age and sex groups analysed, even those who reported back pain and were working full-time accumulated less wealth than full-time workers who suffered no chronic health conditions."
The professor, whose findings are published in Pain journal, suggested that helping back pain sufferers to avoid taking early retirement could help them financially.
"Adopting cost-effective approaches to prevention and treatment of back problems may contribute to extending the labour force participation of individuals and help prevent the costs of lower wealth assets associated with early retirement due to back problems," she added.
Arthritis Ireland is heading up Ireland’s ‘Fit for Work’ campaign which aims to put in place a National framework for Musculoskeltal disorders (MSDs), including back pain.
“By using innovation and creativity to make the workplace ‘fit for work’, the outcomes for workers with MSDs will include increased productivity, reduced sick leave and increased mental and physical wellness. In an era of cost cutting and belt tightening, this is one clear opportunity to save,” an Arthritis Ireland spokesperson said.
About Arthritis Ireland:
Little things can make a big difference to a person with arthritis. Difficulty with the little things like making a cup of tea, getting dressed or opening the front door can all add up to have a big impact on a person’s quality of life. At Arthritis Ireland we understand this. That is why we are Ireland’s only organisation working single-mindedly to transform the experience of people living with arthritis and those who care for them. Every day, we work in communities across the country providing community based education programmes to help people effectively manage and control this devastating disease. We actively drive grassroots advocacy so that the voice of people with arthritis is heard and understood and we work with the medical community to control and cure arthritis.
For further information please contact:
Communications Manager Arthritis Ireland
Ph: 01-6470203 or 086 7952034
Communications Executive Arthritis Ireland
Ph: 01-6470203 or 087 6245865
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