The service, delivered in partnership with Connect Health, aims to prevent peoples’ short-term treatable injuries from developing into long-term life-debilitating issues that may have a detrimental impact on their overall wellbeing.
Of the 70 referrals, 49% were for back/shoulder/neck pain, 33% for knee/hip/leg pain and 18% for arms/wrist/elbow pain. Almost 70% of users were over 35 years old, highlighting that while the chance of developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) increases with age, younger people are still at risk.
1 in 4 people experience MSDs such as a sprain, strain or tear, back pain, arthritis or tendonitis*. While Perennial estimates 75,000 people in horticulture have or will experience this, the charity stresses that MSDs are not inevitable and can be prevented. Identifying and treating the signs and symptoms early can help to resolve a disorder and reduce its impact.
Perennial’s Health & Wellbeing Survey 2021*** reported back and joint pain to be the biggest issue surrounding the health of people in horticulture with 78% of people experiencing aches and pains in the 6 weeks prior to completing the survey.
Julia Hayne said: “MSDs in our industry don’t have to be the norm. If people get help early enough, they can improve their physical wellbeing and avoid their condition getting worse and negatively impacting their future. So often we hear about a niggly pain that’s become unmanageable leaving people no longer fit for the job and ultimately unable to cover the bills. Treatment sooner rather than later really works as a preventative measure.”
Grounds maintenance worker Craig, 31, said: “I’m so grateful for the physio sessions for my back pain, they’ve really helped me. I can do normal things again like going for a walk and driving again, but I’m still not back at work. It was shocking to read my report and realise how bad a state my back was in. I’ve been daft in the past and lifted equipment on my own when I shouldn’t have. I should have looked after myself and got treatment sooner.”
Craig was 31 when he put his back out. He’d worked in grounds maintenance for 10 years and had suffered from a bad back for as long as he could remember. Eventually, the years caught up with him when his back went during a shift at work.
Anyone in the sector experiencing symptoms of MSDs such as recurrent pain, swelling, stiff joints and dull aches in for example their neck, shoulder, knees, back or feet can call the Perennial helpline on 0800 093 8543 for a referral.
Visit perennial.org.uk/physio for more information.
** Perennial Health & Wellbeing Survey 2021 was carried out between May and July 2021 and surveyed over 900 people in the horticulture industry.
*** Referrals to the free physiotherapy service are subject to qualifying criteria.