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When juggling work and home starts to physically hurt

Trying to "have it all" can be quite challenging. In addition to full-time work, many individuals also attempt to build a fulfilling home life, an adventurous social life, hobbies and other passions. Filling one's life with worthwhile challenges is a noble approach. However, new research suggests that trying to juggle too much at once can lead to neck and back injuries, among other health complications.

A recent study authored by experts based at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services indicates that certain employees who work long hours while juggling obligations at home tend to suffer from increased neck pain and/or other kinds of musculoskeletal issues.

Though researchers focused on the work and home life habits of healthcare providers, these findings likely translate to any employees who experience long hours at work and a full home life.

The study also suggests that dual pressures and competing priorities referred to as "work-family conflict" can add to a worker's increased risk for this particular kind of pain. Essentially, this stressor can be both distracting and physically debilitating, depending on the severity of the conflict. As work and home stresses spill over into each other, the body suffers consequences.

Chronic pain or achiness can also affect worker safety. If an employee's full range of mobility is impaired by pain or tension, he or she can be less quick to react to danger. As a result, it is critical for both employees and employers to consider ways to make the scope of work-family conflict less potentially devastating.

Source: EHS Today, "Work-life imbalance is a pain in the neck (literally)," Laura Walter, Oct. 2, 2012

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