People with back pain 'offered help'Employees suffering from musculoskeletal disorders must receive more support from their employers, it has been urged.

Leading policymakers and employers have joined forces with the Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance to ensure positive reinforcement is used to help such people retain their jobs.

Launching its new Charter for Work, the alliance has called for a greater commitment to be made to ensuring that Britons are not forced to leave their jobs as a result of ill health.

The call comes as the group reveals musculoskeletal disorders are the second biggest cause of health and sickness absence in the UK and responsible for 10.8 million lost working days.

It is believed the condition has cost the UK over £7 billion, when based on 2007 prices.

The new charter urges improved flexible working arrangements and training of line managers, along with the delivery of integrated services to diagnose such conditions earlier.

Open dialogue between employers and employees is also encouraged.

Meanwhile, Ann McCracken, chair of the International Stress Management Association UK, recently urged employers to tackle stress in the workplace by encouraging communication with workers.