The Office for National Statistics figures report that 35 million working days are lost each year
to musculoskeletal issues in the UK alone. Habitual poor posture can contribute to daily aches and discomfort in the workplace and beyond. Whether you work at a desk or have a more manual occupation, your job may expose you to stresses and strains that can cause you pain.
If you are self-employed, taking time off work with musculoskeletal problem can have a devastating effect on you and your family’s financial security, so getting back to work as quickly as possible is essential. That can seem impossible when you’re in pain and unable to complete your usual daily activities, but movement really helps.
The Work Foundation recommend that you work with your employers and healthcare professionals if effected by musculoskeletal disorders to find ways of returning to work as soon as possible using a combination of treatment, lifestyle changes and adjustment to working conditions. They also suggest that early intervention is key to recovery, hastening your return to a normal, healthy lifestyle and limiting the negative psychological effects of an extended period of sick leave.
Common causes of strain in the workplace can include:
Prolonged sitting at a desk
Driving long distances
Awkward lifting and carrying
Extended periods of repetitive motion
Using a computer without taking breaks
How osteopaths can help:
Fast access – our osteopaths are usually able to see you within a couple of days of seeking an appointment. As osteopaths are primary healthcare professionals you don’t need to be referred by a GP unless you are seeking NHS funded treatment or your health insurance provider insists that you see a GP first.
Treatment and advice – once they have assessed your condition an osteopath will usually begin treatment straight away. They can also provide advice on how to avoid making the condition worse or re-injuring yourself. You can discuss the impact work may have on your body and agree on an appropriate cause of action that may help. An osteopath may suggest trying different postures and exercises, and discuss workplace ergonomics and lifting techniques.
Osteopaths use a wide range of hands-on techniques, which vary depending on your age, fitness and diagnosis, but often focus on tension, stretching muscles and mobilising your joints.
Inexpensive treatment – Many musculoskeletal disorders can be treated by osteopaths over a few visits.
Fit notes – A fit note provides your employer with advice on what they can do to help an employee return safely to work. This may include adjustments to working conditions, such as reduced hours, a different work station set up, or recommending avoiding activities that may prevent or slow recovery, heavy lifting for example. Osteopaths are able to issue fit notes which will give employers this expert advice.
Onward referral – With your permission, osteopaths are able to share information about your health with other healthcare professionals, such as your GP. If your condition requires the intervention of another expert, an osteopath can provide a letter of referral detailing the diagnosis and any treatment that they have been able to provide, which may help you more rapidly get the help you need to return to health.