Occupational Health

Shoulder Stiffness

This term describes the tension, tenderness and restrictions felt over the shoulders. Muscular shoulder pain is often related to the position that one holds whilst at work. This can be desk bound or through manual labour. This tightness combines often with stress to give the ‘knots’ people often feel they have in their shoulders. The best treatment for this is massage, stretches and some manipulations to articulate joints beneath.


  • Pain and tenderness into shoulders
  • Restrictions in movement of the neck
  • ‘Knots’ in the muscles surrounding the shoulders

Articles from Shoulder Pain Management

Repetitive Strain Injuries

This is an umbrella term used to describe overuse caused by the repeated action of a body part. They have become rapidly more common since computer use has become main stream both at home and work. They are usually in the hands, arms and shoulders but can be anywhere in the body. They are caused from; overuse of a muscle, vibrating equipment, holding a position for a long time, poor posture and stress to name a few. The most common type of RSI is carpal tunnel syndrome which affects a nerve supplying the hand.


  • Pain, but not always at the site of the RSI
  • Neurological symptoms; pins and needles, numbness, weakness
  • Tiredness

Articles from RSI.org

Lower Back Pain

This is one of the most common problems that people suffer from today. The causes can be as wide ranging as the symptoms and intensity of pain. Statistics show that 80% of people will suffer from ‘non-specific low back pain’ in their life. Often this resolves itself, however, if this repeats itself, even once it is worth getting your back assessed by a professional who should be able to tell you what is causing the problem (a diagnosis) and the best course of action; whether that be treatment, referral, stretches and/or pain management.


  • Non specific low back pain – Low back pain can often be caused by chronically poor posture which places the muscles and joints under more strain. Over time this can bring on early stage arthritis of the joints in the back, known as spondylosis
  • Facet Joint irritation – These are the paired joints that run up the length of the spine. There main function is to transfer weight. They are also used a lot to relay message to the brain about the spine position in space, also known as proprioception. Due to the high density of nerves they are often very painful and limited range of movement in the back but the symptoms do not last very long
  • Disc Injury – Discs separate the vertebrae and are the spines shock absorber. They are usually damaged through poor posture whilst lifting/carrying, twisting movements to end range or over time as the disc height reduces with age. The variety of damage can be from a small strain (annular strain) to a full prolapsed disc which can then cause nerve irritation in the leg (sciatica). There are several tests that can be done to rule out certain things and imaging (x-rays and MRIs) may help to diagnose the problem
  • Muscle Spasm – there are small intrinsic muscle of the spine which are responsible for our posture. If these become strained or irritated they can go into an acute spasm. These can be very painful, restrict most ranges of movement and cause a change to your posture i.e. bent in a certain direction

If there is any change to your bowel or bladder habits whilst you have back pain; i.e. you are suffering bowel incontinence or bladder retention then you should visit A+E immediately.

Article on Non Specific low back pain from Patient.co.uk


This is caused by ‘wear and tear’ of your joints. As this happens, your cartilage (smooth surface covering joints) begins to be removed leaving bone to rub on bone. When this happens the body lays down new boney growth called osteophytes. This process causes pain and inflammation at the joints surface, decreased range of movement at the joint and can have massive effects on the person’s life.


  • Pain (usually after movement with osteoarthritis)
  • Early morning stiffness
  • Lack of mobility
  • Swelling and inflammation at joint making it hot

Information from Arthritis Foundation