The health and safety executive estimate that in 2013/14 there were 526,000 cases of work related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) – about 42% of all work related illnesses. MSDs are the second biggest cause of absence from work, effecting over 1m people at a cost to the economy (estimated in 2007) of £7bn.
If you are self-employed, taking time off work with musculoskeletal problem can have a devastating effect on you and your family’s financial security, so getting back to work as quickly as possible is essential. That can seem impossible when you’re in pain and unable to complete your usual daily activities, but movement really helps.
The Work Foundation recommend that you work with your employers and healthcare professionals, if effected by MSDs, to find ways of returning to work as soon as possible using a combination of treatment, lifestyle changes and adjustment to working conditions. They also suggest that early intervention is key to recovery, hastening your return to a normal, healthy lifestyle and limiting the negative psychological effects of an extended period of sick leave.
How osteopaths can help:
• Fast access – osteopaths are usually able to see you within a couple of days of seeking an appointment. As osteopaths are primary healthcare professionals you don’t need to be referred by a GP unless you are seeking NHS funded treatment or your health insurance provider insists that you see a GP first.
• Treatment and advice – once they have assessed your condition, an osteopath will usually begin treatment straight away. They can also provide advice on how to avoid making the condition worse or re-injuring yourself.
• Inexpensive treatment – Many MSDs can be treated by osteopaths over a few visits.
• Onward referral – With your permission, osteopaths are able to share information about your health with other healthcare professionals, such as your GP. If your condition requires the intervention of another expert, an osteopath can provide a letter of referral detailing the diagnosis and any treatment that they have been able to provide, which may help you more rapidly get the help you need to return to health.