Back pain, knee pain and slipped discs are the top three causes why Malaysian office workers seek physical rehabilitation, as shown by a survey conducted by PhysioMobile Malaysia, a provider of physical therapy and rehabilitation services in Malaysia from January 2019 to January 2020.
With 15.5 million strong labour force in Malaysia, complaints of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) among office workers are seen to be on the rise. MSD, defined as injuries or disorders of the muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, cartilage, and spinal discs can occur in work-related settings and often goes untreated until it worsens over time. The data, collected by PhysioMobile from 2,425 patients found that back pain accounts for 49.90% of the total causes for seeking physical rehabilitation while knee pain and slipped discs both account for 15.34% and 13.90% respectively.
“Many people aren’t aware that they are suffering from MSDs, often dismissing it as they feel like the pain is not serious enough, attributing it to fatigue and exhaustion until it’s too late. Problems such as slipped discs can actually be treated really early on, saving patients from the cost of the treatment,” said Saiful Zhafri Shahidan, Director of PhysioMobile Malaysia.
There has been a high prevalence of complaints of pain in the arm, neck and shoulder region among office workers. Exacerbated by the long working hours, leading workers to sit for an extended period of time in their work stations, as well as the lack of knowledge about healthy postures, this in turn leads to problems such as absenteeism, lost productivity, and from the employers’ side; increased health care, disability, and worker’s compensation costs.
In fact, MSDs is the third most common occupational diseases in Malaysia after occupational noise-related hearing disorders and occupational lung diseases, with 188 reported cases in 2018. However, according to PhysioMobile, MSDs can be avoided via proper posture and simple exercises that can even be done during break time.
PhysioMobile, who has also been providing corporate physiotherapy services and talks on ergonomic and spine care at work based on relevant work routines also calls for employers to take measures via development, implementation, and improvement of ergonomics in the office.