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February 11, 2004

Loss of Productive Time Due to Pain

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Stephen J. Lurie, MD, PhD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2004;291(6):694. doi:10.1001/jama.291.6.694-a

To the Editor: Based on their survey results, Dr Stewart and colleagues1 estimated that 13% of the US workforce experienced a loss of productive time during a 2-week period due to a common pain condition.

I am concerned that the authors' broad definitions of well-being and pain conditions seems overly subjective; diagnostic validation for chronic conditions like arthritis would have been helpful. Furthermore, respondents may have been biased by prevailing perceptions of work and disability within their particular field of employment. The author's broad classification of workers into white-collar and blue-collar categories may not necessarily capture the differences in their industry-specific definitions of type of work, expected and actual work hours, compensation and reward criteria, and performance.