What can be done about a pain in the neck?
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If you’ve ever suffered neck or back pain, in the moment it feels exclusive to you. No one else can understand the pain.

But you couldn’t be further from the truth. Neck or back pain is a common condition that affects most people at one point in their lives.

Pain in the joints, bones and muscles are the main cause of physical suffering and activity limitations in our population. Known as “musculoskeletal pain” in academic circles, it can have significant consequences on our health and well-being and – because it often leads to missing work and becoming disabled – on our economy.

Why some people recover quickly and others don’t is a question that has puzzled researchers for years.

But it’s one that researcher Pierre Côté hopes to answer. Côté leads the Centre for the Study of Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.

Work and traffic injuries are commonly identified as the starting point for musculoskeletal disability.  But, he says, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Our environment, our health care system, and the physical and mental health of individuals all contribute to musculoskeletal disability.

Through his work, Côté aims to identify risk factors that can be modified.

By working alongside physicians, psychologists, employers, and policy-makers, Côté and his team can then design more effective preventative and rehabilitative treatment for musculoskeletal pain and disability.

Côté is creating a transdisciplinary model that will not only treat these health problems, but also provide support to those suffering from chronic muscle and joint pain to help them lead happier, healthier lives.

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