Millions of workers operating from home could be creating a backlog of neck and back pain complaints which the NHS will struggle to cope with. Now physiotherapy experts at PhysioWizard®, the UK’s first clinically validated digital triage service for muscle and joint problems, are so concerned that they have stepped in to offer their online self-assessment tool direct to the public and free of charge.
Since the introduction of the Coronavirus lockdown, the proportion of people working from home has risen to 38%*, with many developing muscle and joint problems caused by a combination of factors – poor working postures, physical deconditioning from lockdown and the increase in stress and mental health issues, commonly linked to persistent symptoms and chronic pain. Whilst medical services have been diverted to COVID-19 related issues, those with muscle and joint problems are adding to the treatment backlog now that full-time services are restarting.
With back pain complaints already one of the largest single causes of GP visits prior to lockdown, this build-up is set to create significant pressure on NHS clinicians and services as they return to normal.
Neck and back pain sufferers can log on to the PhysioWizard online self-assessment tool here: www.physiowizard.com/free-assessment where they can undertake a 10-minute self-assessment which has been proven to replicate a physiotherapist’s assessment with 93% clinical accuracy. PhysioWizard is being supported with a grant from Innovate UK, the UK Government’s innovation agency, to enable the further development of the service.
PhysioWizard accurately matches the patient with the recommended treatment (triage), and the platform promotes patient-led care, enabling users to actively participate in their treatment and achieve better results.
Many of the UK’s office workers are currently operating from home, often sitting at kitchen tables, on couches or even perched on the sides of their beds. People are often unaware of the relationship between poor posture and pain, and don’t realise that simple advice and exercises can have a significant benefit on those who are waiting to see a healthcare professional.
PhysioWizard, which is headquartered in Edinburgh, was founded by Kirsten Lord, a Chartered Physiotherapist with 30 years’ experience of treating thousands of patients, working with a team of specialist physiotherapists.
Kirsten said: “I founded this company to give people with pain, disability or fear easy access to simple and effective information, so helping people with back and neck pain caused by working from home and accelerating their recovery, is core to our mission. Delivering healthcare using digital tools will help manage the risks associated with community transmission. There is no better time to use technology to care for people than now. Every person that receives an assessment with PhysioWizard is one less appointment in the NHS. This will help to manage people quickly and prevent a backlog from building up.”