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OH Physiotherapy, Working Well

Occupational Health Physiotherapy, Working Well

Keeping the work-life fitness balance

A large part of a Physiotherapist’s role is the promotion of health and wellbeing although Occupational Health Physiotherapist, Steph Forbes, is here to help prevent sickness absence.  Almost 40% of NHS staff sickness absence is due to musculoskeletal conditions, e.g. back pain, which costs around £596,000 at this Trust annually. The service Steph provides not only helps to keep people at work but also aids many to returning from sickness absence faster. The service is easily accessible: staff can self-refer or be referred by their GP or Consultant. Since the service started in March 2014, Steph has seen more than a 1000 people.


Steph says: “The most common complaint I see is posture related pain, mainly in the back, shoulders or neck.  Lumbar spine muscle spasm or strain accounts for nearly a quarter of all injuries. Staff off with back pain can be managed and can stay at work where possible. There are a lot of “unknown” causes of sickness absence (900k worth). Having a better insight into the causes of sickness absence helps us to have a better understanding of why our staff are off work.


I see people with all sorts of injuries that affect their ability to work. I get very inspired treating some of our staff, and if someone is training for something, it will make me want to join in too. I was treating someone who ran the London Marathon this year (2016) and from that encounter, I am pleased to say running a marathon has successfully been ticked off my bucket list (thanks to DVH Staff who inspired me).


Our trust has some amazing athletes, from Iron men, endurance cyclists, cross fitters, runners, martial arts and many more. Even if you just want to enjoy running around after your children, you are very welcome to complete a referral should you have any problems along the way.


I believe that if you are happy and doing what you like to do outside of work, you will be happy inside of work. Therefore, I am also here to help you if you are having injuries that are not only sport and exercise related, but also if anything that stops you enjoying your hobbies/interests/keeping active outside of work.


I am a huge advocate in the benefits of exercise (physically, mentally and socially), and will do all I can to help keep people active. I know a lot of staff do not put themselves first when it comes to fitness and healthy lifestyles. I also understand that not everyone enjoys exercising like I do, but there are a HUGE variety of sports and activities that people are capable of doing and can enjoy. I definitely believe exercise is not only medicine, but an essential part of a healthy lifestyle.”