Musculoskeletal – What treatments might look like and prevention tips

Work-related musculoskeletal injuries account for the majority of workers compensation costs in Australia compared to any other type of injury. Musculoskeletal injuries account for 37% of serious claims in Australia*. 

Work-related musculoskeletal injuries can arise from body stressing such as:

  • handling, lifting, carrying or putting down of objects
  • Repetitive movement

Common injuries for construction workers can range from sprains, strains, and contusions (bruising) which can be caused by heavy lifting, repetitive movement, poor body posture, forcefulness or muscle effort, or the vibrations from continuous use of hand tools. It’s important to note that these types of injuries can occur suddenly or develop over a period of time. Symptoms of a musculoskeletal injury may be in the form of pain and/or discomfort located in and around the neck, shoulders, wrists, back, and knees. 

What is the Musculoskeletal system?
The musculoskeletal system is made up of the bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage of the human body. Maintaining good musculoskeletal health through prevention and early treatment can make for a long healthy career if you work in the construction industry.

When should I seek help if I suspect an injury?
As soon as you detect any pain or discomfort, inform your employer. It may mean adjusting your work for the day so as not to worsen the pain. You can seek medical assessment and treatment from a professional if the pain or discomfort is preventing you from working or if you have any concerns.

Can physiotherapy help?
Physiotherapy can provide treatment and support and will work with you to understand what work and movement can be done safely and what the recovery process may involve.  They can also assist with creating a return to work process if required, so employers know how to support you during your recovery period.

Musculoskeletal physiotherapy aims to help the patient recover from their condition more quickly through regular treatment sessions and to develop coping strategies to aid the injured worker during the recovery process and prevent secondary problems from occurring. This can be achieved by manual therapy, education, exercise rehabilitation, and finding alternative ways to accomplish your goals and live your best life. The ultimate goal of your unique treatment plan is to bring your body function back to optimal so you can continue carrying out your role in the workplace and continue to enjoy the activities you love in your personal time.

What can I do to prevent injury?
Prevention and early intervention are key to maintaining a healthy musculoskeletal system so you can carry out your day-to-day duties on-site as well as personal activities. Ensure you keep fit and healthy; regular exercise, a good diet, and sleep can all assist in keeping your body ready to perform optimally and recover faster. 

Where can I find more information?
Across Australia there is a lot of information available on this topic, we have provided a few below for you. Of course, reach out to Hazard Co and speak to one of our expert Health and Safety Advisors if you have any questions or need more support on this topic. You can contact us on 1800 954 702.

* Safe Work Australia reporting period of 2019 – 2020.

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