5 occupations in Need of Physiotherapy
Let's delve into the top five occupations where physiotherapy plays a crucial role. Just a quick heads-up, this list is based on my observations at the clinic and isn't backed by scientific articles. So, no offense intended if your profession makes the cut. Consider this blog as an opportunity to shed light on workplace hazards and ways to create a safer work environment. Let's get started!
Before getting into the top five occupations that commonly need physiotherapy, let's acknowledge some honorable mentions: administrative staff, hairdressers, and factory workers. Though they didn't secure a spot in the top five, their roles present their own set of physical challenges. Administrative staff often contend with prolonged hours at desks, leading to posture-related issues. Hairdressers face strain from extended periods spent on their feet and repetitive arm motions. Factory workers grapple with strenuous tasks and repetitive movements that can result in muscular discomfort.
At number five, we have mechanics. This category is quite broad, encompassing heavy duty mechanics, tire shop workers, and those handling tractors or motorcycles. Mechanics often find themselves in awkward positions, reaching around to access and repair various parts of vehicles. The parts that they are often handling are usually heavy and awkwardly shaped.This can lead to complaints of back pain or thoracic spine discomfort. Mechanics often have other machines to help them lift the equipment they are working on. This helps minimize the physical strain but injuries still occur.
Taking the fourth spot are dental hygienists.The limited ability to adjust the patient's position or equipment setup puts them at a higher risk of shoulder and neck injuries. In addition, tasks like scaling teeth are highly repetitive. The repetitive action of the shoulder, elbow and wrist put hygienists at a higher risk of tendinopathies.
In third place, we have early childhood educators, including daycare workers and teachers up to grade three. I have also included stay-at-home parents in this group. Engaging with young children often requires being in a deep squat or hunched over position to communicate at their eye level or assist them. These sustained postures can lead to back and knee injuries over time.
Securing the second spot are nurses. Nurses face unique challenges, primarily dealing with back pain or shoulder discomfort. This is often due to maneuvering medical carts. Medical carts are heavy and require frequent turning or pivoting motions. Usually the carts are hard to turn causing strain on their back and shoulders. Another factor to injuries is fatigue. A nursing shift can be 8 hours but some can be 12 hours. When our tissues are tired, we are more prone to injury.
And finally, at the top of the list, we have continuing care aides (CCAs). This profession is physically demanding, involving tasks like transferring clients and assisting with their dressing. Dealing with clients who may resist movements or have varying levels of mobility and cognition can result in a wide range of injuries, from shoulders to the back and even elbows. A very common injury comes when CCAs are bathing residents. I think it is often due to the reaching motion when washing the resident’s body part that is furthest away from the CCA. TED stockings are also a very common cause of injury as they fit very snuggly to the resident.
It's essential to recognize these occupational strains and work towards minimizing workplace hazards to ensure the well-being of individuals in these professions.
In this informal exploration of common occupations requiring physiotherapy, we've identified five professions that often lead to physical strain and discomfort. Mechanics, dental hygienists, early childhood educators, nurses, and continuing care aides face unique challenges related to their work tasks. From awkward positions and sustained postures to the physical demands of the job, these occupations can result in various musculoskeletal issues, such as back and shoulder pain. While this list is based on clinical observations rather than scientific research, it serves as a valuable reminder of the importance of recognizing workplace hazards and striving to create safer environments for these dedicated professionals.