Sword's Impact on Mental Health & Work Productivity

Why Sword
April 24, 2023
Sword Health care program clinical study results

The link between musculoskeletal (MSK) pain and mental health issues is well documented. In fact, those who struggle with chronic MSK pain are up to 5 times more likely to report anxiety disorders and up to 3 times more likely to suffer from depressive disorders.

The association between MSK pain and mental health conditions leads to greater symptom burden and greater productivity losses than either condition alone. Therefore, tackling both physical and mental health is crucial for creating an employee population that is happy, healthy, and productive.

At Sword Health, understanding the connection between MSK issues and mental health has always been critical to our mission. When we find ways to improve mental and emotional wellbeing, we can also improve quality of life, bringing us one step closer to freeing the world from pain.

Healing mind and body

On average, 50% of participants who complete Sword’s digital physical therapy no longer screen positive for anxiety and 52% no longer screen positive for depression. At the same time, members see a 47% improvement in productivity, on average.

For Sword members who come into the program with acute MSK conditions, the productivity gains are even more pronounced. On average, these members see 79% reduction in productivity losses, and a 64% reduction in pain.

By relieving pain for good, Sword’s program also enables members to get a good night’s rest. Poor sleep has been shown to significantly impact mental health. Up to 38% of Sword members report sleep problems related to their condition. Fortunately, 54% of members report total sleep recovery after program completion, and 69% of participants see at least partial recovery.

Clinically validated results

These mental and physical health results are backed by both clinical trials and real-world evidence. In a study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR), Sword was able to demonstrate that our programs can promote significant improvements in work productivity, even for members with moderate to severe mental health challenges.

The study specifically examined members with mental health comorbidity. To assess this, members were grouped based on baseline depression levels: group 1 (members with a PHQ-9 score of <5, meaning minimal or no depression); group 2 (5-10: mild depression); and group 3 (≥10: moderate to severe depression).

All three groups reported significant reductions in productivity impairment: 62% in group 1; 62% in group 2 and 44% improvement in group 3, resulting in an average reduction of 56% in productivity impairment.

These substantial improvements in both mental health (anxiety and depression scores) and productivity—even in members with significant depression at baseline—affirms Sword’s leading role in reducing the burden of both MSK and mental health in the population, and that tackling MSK can provide improvements in these adjacent conditions.

Read more about the complex connection between MSK pain and mental health, and how Sword can be part of the solution.

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