Health and Safety Executive (HSE) figures report that 9.5 million working days are lost each year to musculoskeletal issues in the UK alone. Osteopaths have clinical training in identifying musculoskeletal disorders, with a thorough understanding of the causes of an ailment, how to treat them and, if necessary, when to refer you to a GP for further investigation.
Many people who are on long-term sick leave say that the reasons they cannot work are due to problems with their muscles, bones, ligaments and nerves (musculoskeletal problems). 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.
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
These strains can cause a number of musculoskeletal disorders in the body, including sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow.
Furthermore, workplace stress can increase the amount of pain you feel by causing tension and muscle spasms. During an osteopathic consultation 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.
You do not need to consult your GP before you visit an osteopath, although you may wish to do so. Osteopaths can provide you with a fit note if you do need time from work.