Massage therapy has been found to alleviate the pain and stiffness attendant with arthritis. A new report shows the blue-collar working class in the U.S. experiences more arthritis and a lower quality of life upon retirement.

“The working poor sometimes delay retirement to survive. However, their higher risk of disease and disability threatens both their financial survival and their ability to work through the retirement years,” the authors wrote in a press release. “We used the burden of disease attributable to arthritis by occupational class to illustrate the challenges faced by the older poor.”

For the report, the investigators merged data from the National Health Interview Survey, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and the National Death Index into a single database, according to the press release. They then calculated and compared age- and occupational class-specific quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) between workers with and without arthritis by using unabridged life tables.

Among the results:

• White-collar workers have a higher overall health-related quality of life than do other workers.

• s White-collar workers suffer fewer QALYs lost to arthritis at all ages than do blue-collar workers.

• Whereas 65-year-old white-collar workers without arthritis look forward to 17 QALYs of future life, blue-collar workers with arthritis experience only 11.

• Blue-collar workers with arthritis are much less likely to remain in the workforce than are those in service, farming, or white-collar jobs.

The report will run in the American Journal of Public Health.

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