Today’s issue of WorkCompRecap features the release of a new study from WCRI that found mental health comorbidities (anxiety, depression, sleep dysfunction) had a stronger association with smaller functional recoveries than physical health comorbidities (diabetes, hypertension, obesity).
The study is based on a large sample of 68,850 workers who were injured on the job and received physical therapy for low back pain. Key findings included that comorbidities are common among injured workers, with the most prevalent being hypertension, arthritis, sleep dysfunction, depression, and anxiety or panic disorders. Comorbidities such as sleep dysfunction, severe obesity, and kidney disease also had stronger associations with smaller functional improvements. WCRI also noted that the timeliness of provision of physical therapy services for low back pain is strongly related to improved functional outcomes.