Work-related musculoskeletal injuries among Australian osteopaths : a preliminary investigation

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McLeod, GA, Murphy, M, Henare, TM & Dlabick, B 2018, 'Work-related musculoskeletal injuries among Australian osteopaths : a preliminary investigation', International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine, vol. 27, pp. 14-22.

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Background: Work-related musculoskeletal injury (WRMI) is a significant risk factor for registered manual therapists, including physiotherapists, occupational therapists and chiropractors. The physically demanding nature of manual therapy has been identified as the common factor in WRMIs among these professions. There is currently no available literature on the prevalence of WRMIs among osteopaths.
Objective: This research sought to collect preliminary data to establish the prevalence and characteristics of WRMIs among Australian osteopaths; including body area injured, risk factors and strategies used to manage injury.
Method: Registered osteopaths, who were members of the professional association Osteopathy Australia, were invited to participate via an online survey.
Results: A total of 160 surveys were completed. The incidence of WRMI was high, with 58% of respondents having sustained one or more injuries. Results indicated that the wrist and the fingers are the most frequently injured areas (41%), while the least injured body part was the knee (1.1%). Performing repetitive tasks accounted for 52% of injuries, followed by performing manipulative techniques (23%). Working too many hours per week (43%) and fatigue (38%) were the main factors contributing to injury.
Conclusions: The findings highlight the risk to osteopaths of sustaining musculoskeletal injuries while working in clinical practice.

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