Occupational Injuries and Physiotherapy

Published: 22nd September 2009
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There is less occupational injury going on in the last few years than before. This is partly because of the influence of physiotherapy on the workplace. Physiotherapy principles are being used to design better work places and work habits. They are also important in dealing with the occupational injury that does happen.



Occupational injury problems include back and neck problems, carpal tunnel syndrome, shoulder and knee dislocations, tennis elbow, and leg and ankle strains. Physiotherapy can be used to treat any of these conditions.



Back and neck problems are major examples of occupational injury. They happen because of improper lifting, lifting while turning, repetitive turning, or sitting improperly. Workman's comp will probably take care of treatment if the occupational injury is more than a slight one.



Carpal tunnel syndrome is often seen in offices. However, it may also occur in other jobs, such as on assembly lines. Tennis elbow can be an occupational injury as well, occurring any time one repetitively twists one's wrists. This movement is often done in packing plants, for example, as workers twist products into containers.



Patients who have an occupational injury are often put on light duty. Some are even laid off. Physiotherapists can step in and help the patients recover their strength and health. Physiotherapy techniques may include exercises, massage, and ultrasound.



A physiotherapist will certainly give instructions about how to do home treatment. When the occupational injury is sufficiently healed, the patient will be given the go-ahead to return to work. If the patient was on light duty, he will be told when to go back to regular duty. If he was off work, he will be told when he can go onto light duty, and then the full daily routine.



Physiotherapy ideas can also be used to construct a better work environment. The work station in an office can be set up to accommodate the proper positioning of the body. This will ward off occupational injury caused by repetitive movements, like carpal tunnel syndrome.



Occupational injury caused by awkward movements in the workplace can also be eliminated if the work environment is set up in an ergonomic fashion. Physiotherapists have much knowledge about the way the workplace should be constructed.



Physiotherapists know what equipment is best used to avoid occupational injury. Ergonomic keyboards are recommended and correct mouse placement is crucial. The physiotherapist will suggest that you use a touch pad instead of a mouse if at all possible.



Physiotherapists can be very helpful in preventing occupational injury in any other type of workplace. They may be called in to consult with employers and ergonomics specialists about what changes need to be made to make the work environment acceptable for their patients.



Work environments are safer than they once were. Ergonomics principles are used and in many cases are required by law to be used if requested by workers. Workers who are injured have good physiotherapy available to them. However, until there is no occupational injury, physiotherapy will continue to have value in the workplace.



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