Ergonomics

Making things fit people

 

What is ergonomics?

In simple terms, ergonomics focuses on optimizing workspaces using specialised equipment and furniture which are unique to the needs of the worker, improving comfort and efficiency in the workplace. 

Why bother?

Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) were the highest incidence of claims (58%) in 2015/16 of all injuries in the workforce. These injuries are the most prevalent in the office environment.

  • Ergonomic intervention reduces rates of workplace injury, improves productivity (in some cases >10%), reduces lost/restricted workdays, reduces staff turnover, reduces staff absenteeism, can have a ROI of up to 84:1.

https://www.jespear.com/articles/12-03-Economics-Ergonomics.pdf

  • Immediate median costs of a serious claim is around $10K, median time off work is 5.2 weeks.

https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/book/key-work-health-and-safety-statistics-australia-2017

  • Total costs to the employer are significant - overtime to cover the injured worker, change to workers compensation insurance excess and premiums, staff turnover and recruitment costs and, staff training/retraining. 

https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/system/files/documents/1702/cost-of-work-related-injury-and-disease-2012-13.docx.pdf

What do we do?

At Albert Park Physiotherapy, we have physiotherapists that are experts in providing ergonomic assessments and make recommendations to meet your ergonomic needs. We help to reduce ergonomic risk factors for the workplace, reduce the rate for workplace injury and improve staff retention, comfort and happiness.

Our services

 Office Sweep

1.       This is a proactive way to prevent workplace MSDs, and improve productivity and comfort by quickly evaluating a person’s fit to a workstation

Individual Ergonomic Assessments

An individual ergonomic assessment is required when:

1.       A staff member has an existing injury and/or;

2.       A staff member is consistently reporting pain when working (at the workplace or at home working) and/or;

3.       A staff member has a referral for a health professional requesting assessment or workstation modification.

See below table to help determine what service/s you may require:

Ergonomics table.JPG

KNEE OSTEOARTHRITIS

Diagnosis

It is now accepted that the best way to diagnosis osteoarthritis in your knee (and many other joints for that matter) is your health practitioner interviewing you thoroughly about your problem and closely examining your knee – especially how it looks, feels, moves and most importantly, determining what you can and can’t do easily.

In most cases X-rays and/or scans are not necessary for diagnosis, and are not helpful for determining the severity of your problem or what treatment is best for you.

Management

The most important person involved in managing your knee arthritis is you!

A Physiotherapist’s role is to educate and advise you on the nature of your problem and how best to manage it so you can minimize its effect on your daily life. So, in a way, your physiotherapist acts like your personal “body” coach!

In the case of knee osteoarthritis, there are three main areas of management that are the key to a good outcome:

1.      Keeping your joint healthy – Learning how to protect your knee from exacerbations, what best to do if such a flare up occurs and maintaining your knee joint in as good a condition as possible. Your physiotherapist can advise you on all of these important strategies.

2.      Exercise – this includes strengthening and stretching exercises and increasing your general fitness – your physiotherapist will design a program especially for you and your lifestyle. Research has shown that exercise is as effective as drug treatment for management of knee osteoarthritis and, of course, has less side-effects and great side benefits!

3.      Weight loss and load management – knees are very sensitive to weight gain, so even a small loss of weight can reap great benefits for your knee. Your physiotherapist can give you advice on modifying your activity, exercise and/or sport routines so you are not overloading the knee.

Good management of knee osteoarthritis means less pain and disability and hopefully puts off or negates the need for surgery in the future.

 

Treatment for Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

Temporomandibular joint disorder… What is it?

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder is a condition that effects the joint/s of your jaw. It can be painful, cause a loss of function and emotional distress.

How common is TMJ Disorder?

Up to 25% of males and 30% of females will, at any given time, suffer from it. TMJ disorder is considered to be under-reported which means that there are likely to be more, rather than less people who suffer this condition.

Symptoms of TMJ Disorder:

• Pain in the jaw
• Earache – normally felt just in front of the ear
• Headache – mainly temple area, also in the eyes and/or back of head
• Clicking/clunking of jaw
• Reduced movement (locking) of jaw
• Bruxism (grinding of teeth at night)
• Morning pain in jaw area
• Avoidance of foods (e.g. apples, bread rolls, meats)

Possible causes of TMJ Disorder:

• Accidents/Injuries • Orthodontics • Surgery to the jaw/teeth
• Removal of wisdom teeth

Which part of the TMJ can be injured?

• Temporo-mandibular disc • Articular capsule • Ligaments • Muscles

What can be done about TMJ Disorder?

• Specific physiotherapy assessment and treatment (that could include massage, mobilisation of the TMJ (both intra and extra-oral techniques), exercises, dry needling, electrotherapy).
• Occlusion splints (see your dentist)
• Using heat/cold packs for pain relief
• Medications to reduce inflammation/muscle spasm/pain (your GP may be involved)
• Modification of postures or habits
• Diet modification
• Surgical intervention (by an oral-maxillofacial surgeon)

How long does it take to recover from TMJ Disorder?

Recovery time depends on:
• How long you have had the condition
• Whether you do the exercises prescribed
• Whether you adhere to the advice given
• Your response to the physiotherapy intervention

Who can help with TMJ Disorder?

Our principal David Bajayo, is an experienced physiotherapist with specific post-graduate training in assessing and treating clients with TMJ/TMD.

 

Massage gift vouchers now available

The holiday season is just around the corner, and there has never been a better time to treat your friends and family with a gift voucher for a 40, 60, or 80 minute massage.

Our in-house massage therapist Emily Loveless is a friendly and knowledgeable professional with over twelve years of experience.

A remedial massage involves an assessment, and then depending on your presentation, will involve one or more of the following therapies:

  • Remedial Massage Therapy
  • Sports Massage
  • Trigger point therapy
  • Lymphatic Drainage Therapy
  • Cupping
  • Bowen Technique

Gift vouchers can be purchased directly from our location at 326 Montague Street, Albert Park for as little as $85.00. Please drop in and speak with our friendly staff, or call us on 9690 5858 for more information. 

Warning: Sitting may kill you!

 
 

In recent years, Australians have become increasingly accustomed to sitting down—at work, on the couch, in the car—and it’s taking a major toll on the health of individuals and our economy.

This sedentary lifestyle is part of the widespread problem of obesity and other related health diseases that lead to more than 7,200 deaths each year. This is why Albert Park Physiotherapy supports the Australian Physiotherapy Association’s ‘Australia’s Biggest Killers’ campaign; aiming to encourage Australians to get off the couch, get moving, and embrace healthy and active lifestyles.  

Obesity in Australia—what’s the impact?
In the past twenty years, obesity has become the leading cause of premature death and illness in Australia, with 14 million Australians now considered overweight or obese.

In their latest study, the Monash Obesity and Diabetes Institute found that if weight gain continues at current levels, close to eighty per cent of adults and thirty-three per cent of children will be overweight or obese by 2025.

Being overweight or obese puts you at high risk of:

  •   Heart disease
  •   Stroke
  •   Type 2 diabetes
  •   High blood pressure (hypertension)
  •   Kidney disease
  •   Osteoarthritis
  •   Endometrial, breast, and colon cancers
  •   Mental health and eating disorders

How can you tell if you are at risk of being overweight or obese?
By using two well recognised methods of determining if you are overweight or obese, such as the Body Mass Index (BMI) and Waist Circumference.

BMI
BMI= weight(kg)/height (m)2

  •   25 to 29.9 (Overweight)
  •   30 to 39.9 (Obese)
  •   40+ (Severely obese)

Waist Circumference
You are more likely to develop obesity-related health problems if you are: 

  •    Male with > 95cm waist circumference
  •    Female with > 80cm waist circumference

Combatting the issue—it all starts with getting active
Research shows that more than 6.4 million Australians are currently doing less than an hour and a half of physical activity per week. Sitting is associated with weight gain and obesity, unhealthy blood-glucose and blood-lipid profiles, and premature death from heart disease. To combat these outcomes we need to be moving more—not just exercising for thirty minutes, but regularly moving throughout the day; even something as simple as standing up while you’re at work.

Inactivity is not the only cause of weight gain. There may be other determinants at play such as social, environmental, behavioural, genetic, physiological, or psychological factors. Thus, we need a range of resources, education, and support services that can help us to make long-term changes to our quality of life.

How a Physio can help
At Albert Park Physiotherapy, our physiotherapists can: design exercise programs for individuals who are obese or overweight; identify and prescribe programs most suited to your medical condition; develop a program of exercise to increase your physical activity safely and effectively; and help identify necessary and achievable changes in your lifestyle.

An initial referral to a physio can be a good way to get started with short-term goals that will assist you to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Resources:
100 ways to move
ABC Health and Wellbeing
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Baker IDI Heart & Diabetes Institute
Better Health Channel
Heart Foundation
Monash Obesity and Diabetes Institute
Obesity Australia

Australia's Biggest Killer. Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA). (2016, June). Retrieved from http://www.physiotherapy.asn.au/APAWCM/Advocacy/Campaigns/APAWCM/
Advocacy/Campaigns/Australia_s_Biggest_Killer.aspx 

 

‘Is screen time affecting more than kids’ minds?’

This year, a research team at Curtin University in Perth are leading a world first study into the impact of touchscreen devices on children’s physical development. The study, currently in the planning phase, will take place over a five-year period and involve looking for evidence that supports the theory that the use of screen time in very young children:

·       Increases risk of obesity;

·       Results in poorer motor skills from prolonged sitting; and

·       May lead to poor neck posture and consequent neck pain later in life.

Researchers are hoping to use the results of the study to develop guidelines that will help health practitioners to make recommendations. 

So far, the research team have completed a small motion analysis study of three ten-year-olds, comparing effects of playing on a tablet, watching television, and playing with physical toys. The results of the study found that the children were more sedentary when using the tablet and watching TV than playing with toys, where they were found to have more varied muscle activity. Those who played with the tablet also had more neck flexion than the other two.

The new study will build on this research, along with a previous study by the same research group on children’s TV watching habits between ages five to seventeen. Researchers anticipate an even greater impact from touch screen devices due to their portability; their use is not limited to the household as with a TV.

Whilst the Australian Department of Health suggests that children under two years should not have any ‘screen time’, a national survey of 150 parents found that two-thirds of children aged between zero to five, are already using tablets, and more than a third use them for more than thirty minutes each day.

It’s not all bad news - technology does have some positive effects, as researchers have found games such as Pokemon Go and Kinect useful in engaging children in physical activity if used the right way.

General Message: If your child learns good habits early regarding screen time,  it should set them up well for a healthy childhood and well into onto adulthood as well. 

Reference: Australian Physiotherapy Association. (2016). ‘Is screen time affecting more than kids’ minds?’ InMotion October 2016. 24-25. 

SORE KNEES? – IT’S NOT ALL BAD NEWS!

 

Are you middle-aged, a tad overweight, and suddenly experiencing soreness and stiffness in your knee(s)?  This may have come on after a jarring incident, an increase in weight bearing activity, or for almost no reason at all.  Don’t panic! This does not necessarily mean you are on the slippery slide to a knee replacement!

The most common causes of knee pain in later life that comes on without a significant injury, are the normal aging changes that occur in our joints. Just as we look older on the outside – we also change on the inside!

In the knee, the surfaces of our joints and the menisci (‘cartilages’), which normally cushion our joints, undergo aging processes. In the case of the menisci, they stay in place even though they may wear down or even crack and split. Many of us will not experience any symptoms at all. Some will experience episodes of stiffness and aching when they walk or run, use stairs, or even after periods of rest.

The good news is that in most cases, modifying activity, losing weight, and doing some simple stretching and strengthening exercises for your legs and pelvis, can help to settle symptoms and keep you active for longer.

Physiotherapists at Albert Park Physiotherapy can help assess what your ‘sore knees’ need and prescribe advice and a tailored exercise program.

The important thing to remember is that even if your x-rays/scans show ‘tears in your cartilages’ and/or ‘arthritis’, most people can be helped by non-surgical treatment and either significantly delay or avoid joint replacement surgery in the future1,2.

1Yim JH, Seon JK, Song EK, Choi JI, AU: Kim MC, Lee KB, Seo HY. (2013) "A comparative study of meniscectomy and non-operative treatment for degenerative horizontal tears of the medial meniscus." The American Journal of Sports Medicine 41: 7, 1565-70

2Katz JN1, Brophy RH,(2013) “Surgery versus physical therapy for a meniscal tear and osteoarthritis.” N Engl J Med. May 2; 368(18):1675-84

 

Lymphatic Drainage Massage at Albert Park Physiotherapy

 

Lymphatic Drainage Massage (also known as Manual Lymph Drainage) is an effective and relaxing treatment that is gaining more exposure over the years since its discovery by Danish doctors back in the 1930s.

The lymphatic system runs in parallel with the circulatory system (blood) to allow the blood and surrounding tissues to effectively remove waste and toxins. To function optimally, the lymphatic system depends on the contraction of smooth muscles, pressure of surrounding tissues and body movement.

Lymphedema (swelling of the lymph/fluid retention) can occur after surgery or radiotherapy where lymph nodes/vessels are removed or compromised. It has been reported in a recent Cochrane Review entitled “Manual Lymphatic Drainage for Lymphedema following Breast Cancer Treatment” (2015) that:

·       More than one in five patients who undergo treatment for breast cancer develop breast cancer-related lymphedema (BCRL).

·       Breast cancer related lymphedema was found to have a negative impact on comfort, function, and quality of life.

·       Supported the intervention of Manual Lymphatic Drainage.

·       Manual Lymphatic Drainage was found to be safe and effective (especially when used in conjunction with compression bandaging).

·       Manual Lymphatic Drainage was more effective in reducing volume of lymphedema than compression alone; and reduction in the feeling of heaviness and, a reduction in pain.

Lymphedema can also occur due to inactive/sedentary lifestyles and/or an injury/trauma amongst other causes. The main areas where lymphedema can pool is in areas such as the thighs, knees, ankles, belly and arms.

Our experienced remedial massage therapist at Albert Park Physiotherapy, Emily Loveless, has studied Lymphatic Drainage Massage. She has been treating clients with lymphedema with excellent results. 

If you have any questions regarding your lymphatic system or would like to book in a time with Emily to benefit from this effective treatment, please contact us on 9690 5858 and make an appointment. Emily is available at Albert Park Physiotherapy on Thursday or Saturday.

Ezzo J, Manheimer E, McNeely M.L, Howell D.M, Weiss R, Johansson K.I, Bao T, Bily L, Tuppo C.M, Williams A.F, Karadibak D. Manual Lymphatic Drainage for Lymphedema following Breast Cancer Treatment (Review). The Cochrane Collaboration. (2015)