Physiotherapy - helping employees back to work

In 2008/2009 the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) conducted a labour force study. It showed 2.2 million employees a year suffered from occupational illness or ill health. Of these, 1.2 million  people believed they were suffering from a musculoskeletal disorder caused by, or made worse, by work. This resulted in 9.3 million lost working days.

The  main areas of risk at work leading to reports of musculoskeletal disorders include:

  •  Heavy or repetitive lifting.
  •  Bending or twisting.
  •  Frequent repetition of any action.
  •  Uncomfortable working positions.
  •  Exerting too much force.
  •  Working too long without breaks.
  •  Adverse working environments - too hot, cold, bright etc.
  •  Psychosocial factors - high job demands, time pressures, lack of control.
  •  Not receiving and acting on reports of symptoms quick enough. 

Does my organisation need a Physiotherapist?

It may be that you recognise some of these risk factors in your own company, or already have a problem with staff absence due to musculoskeletal disorders. The HSE study clearly shows that musculoskeletal problems are one of the most common forms of ill health at work, and undoubtedly your business will feel the cost of your staffs' ill health.

Managing these disorders requires the co-operation of the employee, the employer and others. Physiotherapy intervention can help to minimise the problems, keep the sufferer active and where feasible, keep them at work.

Physiotherapists have a holistic approach to evaluation and treatment, and recognise that musculoskeletal problems can be due to many factors, many of which exist outside of the working environment. Physiotherapists take all factors into considerations when devising rehabilitation programmes.

What is physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy is a health care profession in which human movement is viewed as key to the well-being of individuals. Physiotherapists have extensive knowledge of anatomy and human function, which means that no other health professional has a better understanding of the way the human body works and what happens when things go wrong. Physiotherapists identify movement dysfunction and maximize functional potential through treatment, health promotion, education, preventative health care and rehabilitation.

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