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October 2022

N Z Med J. 1988 Aug; 101(852): 542-4.

Compensated back injury in New Zealand.

Burry HC, Gravis V.

Accident Compensation Corporation, Wellington.

Back injury is one of the commonest claims for accident compensation. A survey carried out over three months in 1984 identified 420 claimants having details of their accidents. Labourers, freezing workers, coal miners and railway workers were at high risk. Over half (54.7%) developed back pain whilst lifting and for almost two-thirds (63.6%) there was a sudden strain. Half had a previous history of back pain and the incidence rose to 70% for those aged 40-59 years. Eighty-two percent returned to work within four weeks. Most were treated by a general practitioner and physiotherapy was increasingly used as the period of disability lengthened. Rest and pain killers were assessed as the most popular forms of treatment. There was a need for education of the workforce in the ergonomics of lifting.

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