There are many conditions which keep Australians from taking an active role in the nation’s workforce.
Everything from minor injuries to major accidents to psychological conditions can prevent people from being able to contribute in the workplace.
Just this week, research released by Safe Work Australia showed that mental stress was behind many workers compensation claims.
Such stress was brought on by variety of factors, including work-related harassment, bullying, pressure or violence.
It was also shown to be more prevalent in those tasked with being responsible for others working in high risk environments.
As a result, many workers suffered long absences from work and subsequent loss of income.
Yet these are not the only Australians being forced to stay away from work due to a medical condition.
A new study released today (April 9) has revealed that more than half a million Australians between the ages of 45 and 64 are not working due to ill health.
The study, led by Professor Deborah Schofield from the University of Sydney, found that of the 663,000 kept at home by their health, 280,000 are forced to retire early due to back problems and arthritis – conditions associated with chronic pain.
Through a statement released by Painaustralia today, Ms Schofield said that chronic pain can lead to depression and other mental health problems.
The study showed that effective treatment and management of chronic pain would have many benefits.
Not only would people be able to stay at work and earn their way once more, they would also be paying taxes for longer and need less government assistance.
“If we’re going to come up with a new focus to beat chronic pain and improve productivity at the same time, we have to get a new nexus between health, economics and welfare – disciplines that haven’t always talked to each other about finding the most effective way,” said Ms Schofield.
Painaustralia chief executive Lesley Brydon highlighted that chronic pain was a growing crisis in Australia that would only get worse as the population ages.
This study highlights the need for the federal government and opposition to address chronic pain in their health policies for the forthcoming election,” said Ms Brydon.
In NSW, anyone prevented from working due to an injury sustained at or while travelling to the workplace may be entitled to workers compensation.