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April 11, 2007

Back Pain in the Workplace

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Departments of Medicine and Microbiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Dr Hadler), and the Department of Psychiatry, Saint Louis University School of Medicine, St Louis, Mo (Drs Tait and Chibnall).

JAMA. 2007;297(14):1594-1596. doi:10.1001/jama.297.14.1594

In 1911, New York was the first state to legislate “workmen's compensation insurance.” By 1949, all states independently administered workers' compensation insurance programs. Several stipulations were common to these statutes and remain so today. Foremost is to indemnify medical costs and lost wages when a worker has experienced a work-related personal injury, generally defined as an injury that arose “out of and in the course of employment.”1 The intent of these schemes is to minimize the financial toll that compounds such injuries. From the outset, the notion of “injury” was contentious. For instance, if an inguinal hernia is first noticed at work, is that a compensable injury? It became so when “rupture” became parlance.