FOTO Rehab Outcomes Blog

Will Psychosocial Coaching Reduce Musculoskeletal Pain in Work Place

Written by Selena Horner | Apr 5, 2017 10:30:00 AM

 At first glance, my feathers are immediately ruffled. I truly do not believe "prevention" really every happens. There are no guarantees in life.  My head believes reducing risk is more realistic.  Now, if I set that aside and think about the abstract, I have questions.

We know that if an employer shows care and stays in contact with an injured worker, there is a greater likelihood of return to work. I wonder if having additonal care via nurses creates the perception that the employer cares, which leads to better work-related wellbeing?

I also have a "flip side" kind of question. If  physiotherapists spend some time educating about pain, does that affect work-related wellbeing also?

Below you will find a quick view of the abstract. 

The prevention of musculoskeletal complaints: a randomized controlled trial on additional effects of a work-related psychosocial coaching intervention compared to physiotherapy alone.




Research shows that psychosocial factors play a significant role on the emergence of musculoskeletal complaints (MSC). The aim of this study was to determine whether a coaching intervention which was focussed on enabling better strategies for coping with work stressors is superior to physiotherapy alone in the reduction of MSC.


68 nurses were randomized to an intervention group (IG, n = 34) or a control group (CG, n = 34). The IG and CG completed a weekly individual physiotherapy unit (10 weeks). Additionally, the IG passed five coaching sessions (fortnightly), plus one opening and one closing session. The primary outcome was MSC, secondary outcomes were work ability and work-related wellbeing. Outcomes were obtained by physical examinations and questionnaires. Data were analyzed by t-test, Chi-Square test, ANOVA with repeated measurements, and multilevel analyzes.


In respect of MSC, the IG compared to the CG showed a significant improvement in the pain severity of everyday movements, and trends towards an improvement of movement in the vertebral column as well as a reduction of the pain severity due to maximum degree movements. No effects were observed in respect to muscle strengths, and restrictions of everyday activities. The IG exhibited a significant improvement of work ability in reference to the physical working demands, and work-related wellbeing. Analysis indicates that improvements in the IG increased further in the 12 weeks after the intervention.


The results suggest that the coaching, beyond physiotherapy, can support the reduction of MSC, the improvement of work ability and work-related wellbeing.

Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2017 Mar 2. doi: 10.1007/s00420-017-1202-6. [Epub ahead of print]