Power over pain: reducing MSK issues in the workplace

How many of your employees are in pain or discomfort? What is the wider impact on your business? And what strategies are you employing to prevent and support this? Whether your workforce operates from the office or from home – or a mixture of the two – it’s essential to have effective strategies in place.

Estimates from the Labour Force Survey indicate that the total number of cases of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in 2020/21 was 470,000. Common work-related MSDs, such as neck, back and shoulder pain, can be costly in terms of time and money, as well as impacting the mental health of the employee. There are some simple steps that every employer can take to help prevent and manage staff injuries for a happier, healthier workforce, to maximise productivity and reduce absenteeism.

Prevention is key

The most common physical injuries associated with working from home are MSDs such as back pain, and can be caused by improper posture from the lack of a proper ergonomic workspace and lack of movement due to sitting at a desk for extended periods.

With a steep post-pandemic rise of working from home, many employees are working from  kitchen counters or dining tables, which are usually too high; or bent over laptops in coffee shops or poorly designed co-working spaces. In fact, 81% of employees working remotely during the first lockdown experienced back, neck, or shoulder pain.

Implementing ergonomic practices is essential for preventing workplace injuries. This means taking into account the physical demands of the job, as well as the individual needs of the employee. Do your employees have access to the proper equipment? This includes providing suitable chairs, desks, monitors, keyboards and mice. Providing employees with information on how to correctly set up their desk space is essential if they are working from home; in-office, each employee’s workspace should be individually assessed and adjusted according to their needs. Away from the desk, it is important to provide employees with the proper tools and equipment to help reduce the strain on their bodies.

Engage in a physical support program

AI technology is playing its part in reducing costs of private physiotherapy and making it available to all. DocHQ Physio offers a unique solution by combining remote appointments with Chartered Physiotherapists and specialised AI technology, to increase patient adherence rates and get employees pain-free and back to work faster.

DocHQ Physio is designed to be performed completely remotely, meaning fast and easy access to healthcare for all employees, whether working from home or office. Employees can book an initial online appointment with a physio and perform their online treatment plan from the comfort of their home. Advanced movement tracking technology guides their rehab exercises and real-time feedback helps correct their movement. And because the AI tech tracks the patient’s movement and adherence, DocHQ physiotherapists can monitor progress remotely and adjust treatment plans instantly.

Encourage breaks

Regular movement breaks should be encouraged throughout the day to help reduce strain on the body from sitting for long periods. This can include providing access to standing desks, as well as giving employees the opportunity to take short walks during their breaks. Meetings provide a good opportunity to stand up and move around – actively encouraging employees to take standing or walking meetings or calls can make a huge difference mentally and physically.

Don’t hang about

Despite your best efforts, workplace injuries are still possible. It is important to have a plan in place to address any injuries that occur. This includes providing employees with access to care and providing them with the opportunity to take time off if needed.

NHS wait times are at an all-time high and the longer an injury goes untreated, the longer it takes to recover. DocHQ Physio removes the frustration of long wait times and travel costs, as employees can instantly book an appointment online with a Chartered Physiotherapist to have their issue assessed via video call. Follow-up virtual appointments can be booked with a click of a button, and patients can rest assured their progress is being monitored by their physio through the advanced AI tech.

What next?

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Keeping employees safe and healthy in the workplace is essential for any successful business. By taking the necessary steps to prevent and manage workplace injuries, any company can ensure a safe and productive environment for everyone.

For further information on DocHQ Physio, contact Amit Arora, amit.arora@dochq.co.uk