Coping with Back Pain & the Future of Corporate Physiotherapy

Workplace_WalkingWe’ve all suffered from a bad back at some point in our lives, however a slight twinge could turn into a continuing musculoskeletal disorder. This week, we take a look at some top tips for controlling back pain and how physiotherapy can be a considerable help. We also take a look at what Karen Middleton, Chief Executive of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, has to say about the future of the corporate physiotherapy industry.

Dealing with Back Pain

MSDs, or musculoskeletal disorders, are chronic afflictions in various areas of the body, including the back. MSDs are also the primary cause of sickness from work and these days and weeks of absenteeism cause huge financial strain on both employees and management. Physiotherapy has been proven to be one of the most effective treatments for back pain and other MSDs and helps prevent workers from recurring problems.

There are many ways in which you can help prevent and relieve back pain yourself; a few simple steps and changes to your daily routine can help immeasurably when it comes to aches and pains which are most commonly work-related. Some of the ways in which you can prevent MSDs from occurring are:

• Keep a fit and healthy lifestyle, this can help keep all your muscles working as they should be and prevent from strain.
• Avoid sitting for too long when working or driving and if you sit for long periods of the day, make sure you are getting up regularly to stretch.
• Check your posture when at home watching TV or playing games, as this can have a marked effect on back pain.
• Assess your work environment and check what areas of your office can be optimised for comfort, i.e., is your computer chair at the right height, is your desk too low to write comfortably?
• Avoid smoking as this can slow blood circulation and cause muscles to ache more frequently.

If you think you are beginning to suffer from a MSD, contacting a physiotherapist is the first step towards finding relief from constant pain. A large number of MSDs are caused from Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) which is now more commonly known as Work Relevant Upper Limb Disorder (WRULD) which can signal that an overhaul of workplace ergonomics is needed in order to help staff maintain healthy muscle use.

Managers and employers must be mindful of the day to day strain that can be put upon workers whose offices are not optimised for comfortable working. If MSDs are becoming more and more prevalent within a workplace then corporate physiotherapy can be the answer. Having staff able to be regularly assessed and worked with on a one to one basis by seasoned professionals is the best way to ensure the lowest possible amount of sick days caused through physical afflictions.

Corporate Physiotherapy’s Future

Although the benefits of corporate physiotherapy are numerous, the chief executive of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists, Karen Middleton, says she fears the future of the industry may be in question. She has already noticed a decline within the profession, citing a lack of training places as one of the main reasons.

Moreover, there can be a great deal of red tape to cut through in order to give patients the proper care they need, including charges for self-referral and some disagreement over physical contact with patients. There are so many benefits for companies and employees alike, both financially and on a more existential level. Helping workers to combat stress levels that can increase through a lack of comfort at work and deal with long-term conditions that may have caused frequent sick days will be of benefit to everyone involved.

22nd October, 2014