August was declared “Tradies National Health Month” by the Australian Physiotherapy Association. Tradies have among the highest number of injuries, musculoskeletal conditions and other health and safety risks of any profession.
Every day 10 tradies are badly injured at work. That is 3650 tradies a year on workers compensation. Nearly a quarter of all roofers, labourers and plumbers experience back pain, muscle stress and strain from lifting equipment, or slips, trips, and falls when handling materials.
Physiotherapists play a critical role in providing early healthcare intervention support, through diagnosing, treating and preventing disease and disability. Working in partnership with their patients, physiotherapists can help recovery from injury, reduce pain and stiffness, and increase mobility, and also prevent further injury.
How Can Physiotherapy Help?
Physiotherapists are experts in human movement. They understand how your muscles, bones, joints and ligaments work and how injuries happen.
Physiotherapists are able to help get you back to work faster. Physiotherapists can:
- Assess your muscle strength, flexibility and fitness to design an appropriate fitness program
- Teach you how to better handle loads, to move more efficiently and safely
- Teach you how to engage your trunk core stabilisers when performing a task
- Show you how to prevent injury in your home or workplace
- Increase strength and range of motion of both upper and lower limbs
- Increase balance, endurance and joint awareness
- Increase both core abdominal and upper body strength
- Improve general fitness and weight control
They may use:
- Postural assessment, correction and advice
- Ultrasound, electrotherapy and heat treatment
- Advice regarding work role modifications, if required
- Functional and rehabilitative exercises to improve flexibility, strength, posture and core stability
- Use of a sacroiliac belt or lumbar brace
- Use of a lumbar roll for sitting
- A gradual return to activity program
Early intervention and treatment through physiotherapy and the promotion of preventative health and well-being, can prolong working careers and improve general well-being for any worker in the trade industry.