The medical professionals are susceptible to work related stress and strain. If such a condition persists, unattended, it will lead to musculoskeletal disorders, according to Mr Mohan Gandhi, Chief Executive Officer (Marketing and Rehabilitation) and Chief Physiotherapist of KG Hospital.

Mr Mohan Gandhi dwelt at length on the topic “Musculoskeletal issues in Healthcare Professionals” in a lecture given to the post-graduate students of KG Hospital and Post Graduate Institute in the Hospital Auditorium recently.

The musculoskeletal disorders are also known by the following names:

  1. Occupational Overuse Syndrome
  2. Repetitive Pain Injury
  3. Cumulative Trauma Disaster

The medical professionals are prone to get the disorders because they work round- the-clock and at odd hours. Working in a cramped atmosphere, handling excessive number of patients without proper break, striking awkward postures at the work place, sitting in the same postures for long hours, and inadequate support to the structures such as knees and the back are some of the causes for the musculoskeletal disorders.

Symptoms

The symptoms of the  disorders include pain in the neck, shoulders and inter scapular area, mid thoracic pain, low back ache, numbness or burning sensation in the hands, swelling in wrist joint,  headache, insomnia, and dry and itchy or sore eyes.

In the modern age, it is required of medical professionals to handle gadgets such as laptops, desktop computers and mobile phones for long duration. Using these devices continuously in dimly lit rooms, without anti-glare screen and without wearing protective glasses will result in such a syndrome.

Mr Mohan Gandhi says that tight hamstrings can cause hips and pelvis to rotate back, flattening the lower back and causing back problems.  Tight hamstrings can also be responsible for postural problems and other back problems such as sacroiliac joint pain, as they will tend to pull the pelvis out of normal position.

When we lie on our back and do a Straight Leg Raise (SLR), it should be in 80—90 degrees, and anything less than 80 degrees is considered as tight hamstring.  One of the causes for tight hamstrings is genetic, ie., some people are born with short hamstrings.

Sub optimal function

If the muscles are tightened, blood will be squeezed out of them. In such condition the muscles will function less than their optimal capacity. If not corrected at an early stage, the musculoskeletal issues will worsen, boils over and leads to a breakdown.

Mr Mohan Gandhi says that McKenzie Therapy is classified into three categories:

  1. Postural syndrome, 2. Dysfunction syndrome, 3. Derangement syndrome

Postural syndrome:  It is the result of keeping the same posture for extended period. This will affect the muscles, tendons or joint surfaces.

Dysfunction syndrome:  It implies some sort of adaptive shortening, scarring or adherence of connective tissue causing discomfort. A dysfunction may be intermittent or chronic, but its hallmark is a consistent movement loss and pain at the end range of movement. When the patient moves away from end range, the pain will be decreased.

Derangement syndrome:  This is the most common syndrome of the three. Certain movements and particular movement patterns can cause more sensitivity. Such as a flexion or extension, the symptoms become either more central (just in the low back) or less intense.

According to Mr Mohan Gandhi, these symptoms have brought specialists of all hues, surgeons, ophthalmologists, radiologists, gynaecologists and so on to the physiotherapy department for relief and cure.

‘Ten to Win’ concept

To prevent or to get over the musculoskeletal disorders, Mr Mohan Gandhi recommends the adoption of “Ten to Win” concept:

  • Do something to your body; Visit the physiotherapy division when it hurts; Take care of your seat, Sit straight; Keep your body slim and trim; Take regular breaks in between your tight schedule; Mind your gadgets; Be comfortable and make others comfortable; Spend the weekend out; and plan and executive your physical exercises.

Taking balanced diet, doing regular physical exercises and having sufficient exposure to sunlight to get Vitamin D are some of the ways to overcome the musculoskeletal disorders.  Mr Mohan Gandhi says that always sitting in an air-conditioned room without any exposure to sunlight will starve the body of Vitamin –D and that will in turn lead to a physical condition called osteoporosis.

While sitting, keep the legs in front of the chair with the thighs parallel to the floor, and the spinal cord in its natural position and the shoulders without a slouch. While sitting in front of the computer, the top of the screen should be at eye level, wrists and shoulders in a relaxed position, and take regular intervals.

Mr Mohan Gandhi advocates adoption of “Surya Namaskar” technique to avert musculoskeletal issues.

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