Over half a million people suffered musculoskeletal (MSD) disorders at work in 2017 taking, on average, 17.6 days off work, yet many employees are unsure of the causes of MSDs.
MSDs are conditions affecting joints, nerves, tendons and muscles and they’re often the result of one or more of these tissues becoming sensitive. There are many myths surrounding work-related MSDs which can delay, or even prevent full recovery.
As it is National Arthritis Week which ends on 19th October, John Doyle, Professional Head of Physiotherapy at Nuffield Health, debunked some myths about MSD, which can help you stay in great condition for work.
Myth 1: Needing a new desk or special equipment
Although poor work ergonomics can potentially result in MSD, desks do normally take all of the criticism for these painful developments. There are many things you can do in order to improve your workstation. You can use footrests to further aid your blood flow. Adjust your screen to eye level through stands and various other adjustments. You can also position your mouse and keyboard within easy to access reach.
However, although these micro adjustments can help this cause. It is also important to look at the bigger picture when it comes to MSD. Increasing physical activity can provide health benefits. As well as reduce the frequency of sitting watching TV, or sitting down during breaks. Doing this will reduce pain and prevent MSD.
Myth 2: The pain is all in your head
Pain is a set of real complex physiological responses. However, pain isn’t related to the level of damage to the body. For example, paper cuts cause serious pain but virtually no damage!
The pain people go through is caused by many factors, which include health and fitness, high levels of stress anxiety, and injuries. Your experience of pain could be being made worse by the hormones and chemicals released by your body in response to stress. For example, some people tend to suffer from a sore neck during a particularly stressful time at work,
Myth 3: Exercise will make it worse
There are many people who have MSD, who fear attempting exercise or any taxing activity, as they worry that this may further worsen their condition.
Exercise, however, has proven to be one of the best solutions to recover from MSD, doing physical exercise can strengthen muscles and joints. This can also improve flexibility, and reduce your body sensitivity to pain. Although there are huge benefits behind the physical activity, it is crucial to make sure you are following the right plan for you. It is important to talk to a physiotherapist beforehand if you suffer from MSD.
Myth 4: Smoking only affects your lungs
In recent years it has become apparent that smoking can have a huge effect in damaging your lungs and heart. However what many people aren’t aware of it how this can lead to loss of muscle mass, increased muscle pain and tendon degeneration.
With these symptoms, these can make you much more vulnerable to musculoskeletal injury, as well as making it harder to recover. If you quit them it won’t be long until you can reap the benefits in breathing easier and recovering faster.
Myth 5: Physiotherapy won’t help
A significant misconception is that physiotherapy will have little impact on pain. However, this is false as this can help everyone, not just sportspeople. Physiotherapists are experts in musculoskeletal disorder and can aid you in finding the root of your problems and helping you recover faster. These treatments can include joint mobilisation and manipulation, soft tissue techniques and devising both short- and long-term rehabilitation plans.
A physiotherapist will consider a plethora of aspects of your life while accessing you, these include your diet, sleep patterns and sensitivity to help you avoid, manage and recover in a fast fashion.
Make sure to find out more from your employer about whether you have access to a physiotherapy as a workplace benefit or inquire at your local gym or health centre.
Find out more information or advice on the Nuffield Health website.