Osteopathy and You: Work & Driving
Are you fit for work? 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). ONS figures report that 35 million working days are lost each year to musculoskeletal issues in the UK alone. 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 help 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 the osteopathic consultation you can discuss the impact work may have on your body and agree on an appropriate cause of action that may help. We may suggest trying different postures and exercises, and discuss workplace ergonomics and lifting techniques.
MUSCULOSKELETAL HEALTH AT WORK
- Frequent short breaks away from the computer may help avoid back, neck and eye strain
- Adjusting your chair and computer display so that the top of the screen is at eye level may be more comfortable for your upper body and neck
- When lifting, judge whether you can do this safely alone or need help. Try not to lift items that are too heavy for you on your own (don’t be afraid to ask for assistance). Always keep the item close to your body. Bend your knees and make your legs do the work. Try not to twist your back – turn with your feet
- When driving make sure you are positioned comfortably, and take regular breaks on long journeys
HOW OSTEOPATHY CAN HELP
An estimated 11.6 million working days a year are lost to work-related musculoskeletal disorders. 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.
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.