Reducing the risk of injury at work!

Improve your posture

Image designed and supplied courtesy of  Freepik

If you were asked to name the biggest injury risk for workers who perform desk jobs, what would your answer be?

If you are like most people, you would likely answer repetitive motion.
However, the actual answer is poor posture.
Poor posture includes not just your back or sitting posture, but how you hold your arms, where your legs/feet are placed and how your workstation relates to you.

The study of ergonomics means fitting the workplace to the person. If you look around your work environment, you will notice work areas are set up almost the same. The desk heights, chairs, computer and keyboards are identical. However, if you now look at people, none of us are the same. Even if we are the same height, our body proportions may be different.

Let’s review strategies to reduce the risk of injury:

Chair: Review the adjustments the chair may/may not have. Some chairs have only height adjustments, while others may have many adjustments. Start with sitting back in the chair with your back supported against the back rest. Place feet flat on the floor and check that hips and knees are the same height. If not, adjust the chair up/down until they are even, or your knees are slightly lower than your hips. You should be able to put two fingers between the back of your knees and the front of your chair. Too little space can cut off the blood flow to your lower legs. Too much space may leave your legs unsupported.

Now, sit back and place your elbows at your sides bent to 90 degrees and make your wrists/forearms straight and level. Turn your chair to your keyboard and see where your keyboard lines up. If the keyboard is above your hands, it is too high. If it is below your hands, it is too low. Remember: arm rests are for resting, not for supporting arms as you type.

Keyboard: The keyboard should be placed where your hands are when you are sitting back in the chair with elbows at your sides and forearm/wrists are level. Be sure to put the tabs down on the back of the keyboard. Using the tabs on a keyboard forces wrist extension, which leads to fatigue in forearms, wrist and elbows and increases pressure in the carpal tunnel area. The ideal keyboard should be angled down away from you (a negative tilt) to allow wrists to remain in neutral while typing. The mouse should be close to you and not where you have to reach away from your side to use it.

There are many ergonomic keyboards and mice to choose from. The best way to choose is to go to an office supply store and look at the different options. Try them out and see which ones fit you best. Do you use the numbers pad often? If so, try moving the mouse to your left side. This will decrease the overuse of your right hand. If you don’t use the numbers pad, you may want to consider a smaller keyboard without a numbers pad so you can keep the mouse closer to you.

The standard desk height is 29” to accommodate a two-drawer file cabinet underneath, which can cause the keyboard to be too high. An adjustable keyboard tray may be the best answer as they can be adjusted to fit many different heights. Look for one with controls that are easy to reach and use. Also, look for a tray that can be angled to a negative tilt. It should be large enough to hold the keyboard and mouse. If you can’t get or use a keyboard tray, you can raise your chair, so your arms are properly positioned and add a footrest to support your legs.

Monitor: For normal vision, the monitor(s) should be adjusted so the top of the monitor is at eye level and the distance is arm length away from you. If you wear progressive or bifocal lens, you will need to lower the monitor so you can focus without having to extend your neck. Adjust the distance so it is comfortable for you to read without having to lean forward away from the back of your chair.

If you use two or more monitors and use them equally, centre the keyboard and angle the outside of the monitors toward you slightly to decrease head turning. If you use one more than the other, centre your keyboard at your dominant monitor and place the other one on the side of your dominant eye. Angle it toward you to decrease neck rotation. Place the items on your desk that you use the closest to you.

Lastly, let’s touch on postures and positions to avoid.

These include:

  • Slouching forward
  • Neck extension (looking up) and over rotation (looking side to side)
  • Wrist extension (when in position to type, hands are higher than the forearms)
  • Prolonged positions
  • Bending elbows past 90 degrees
  • Leaning on elbows
  • Crossing legs
  • Sitting without good back support

While we can’t stay in perfect position all the time, using good postures and positions when you can, and taking micro breaks every 30 minutes, can make a big difference in how you feel.


Diabetes and Exercise!

People with diabetes are encouraged to exercise regularly for better blood sugar control and to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
The reason for this is that muscles which are working use more glucose than those that are resting. Muscle movement leads to greater sugar uptake by muscle cells and lower blood sugar levels.

Additional benefits of exercise include a healthier heart, better weight control and stress management. Exercise is the common term used to describe any bodily activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health and wellness.

Why is exercise important?

As well as strengthening the cardiovascular system and the body’s muscles, many people exercise to keep fit, lose or maintain a healthy weight, or purely for enjoyment.

Frequent and regular physical exercise is recommended for people of all ages as it boosts the immune system and helps protect against conditions such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cancer and other major illnesses

In fact, it is known to cut your risk of major chronic illnesses/diseases by up to 50% and reduce your risk of early death by up to 30%.

Other health benefits of exercising on a regular basis include:

  • Improves mental health
  • Boosts self-esteem/confidence
  • Enhances sleep quality and energy levels
  • Cuts risk of stress and depression
  • Protects against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

Furthermore, exercise is free, can be carried out anywhere at any time and has an immediate effect on your health.

What counts as exercise?

In the UK, regular exercise is defined by the NHS as completing 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity a week.

Aerobic activity at moderate intensity basically means exercising at a level that raises your heart rate and makes you sweat. This includes a multitude of sports. For example:

  • Fast paced walking
  • Light jogging
  • Bike riding
  • Rowing
  • Playing doubles tennis or badminton
  • Water aerobics

Cutting the grass, cleaning your home and other daily chores such as shopping don’t count towards your 150 minutes of weekly exercise as advances in technology have made these activities far less demanding on the body than for previous generations, who were active naturally more active through work and manual labour.

However, the less time you spend sitting down, the better it will be for your health. Sedentary behaviour, such as sitting or lying down for long periods, increases your risk of weight gain and obesity, which in turn, may also up your risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

Are there any precautions I should take when it comes to exercise?

There are some exercise precautions which people with diabetes must take, however, when done safely, exercise is a valuable aid to optimal health.

Exercise precautions are designed to help people with diabetes avoid problems which can result from unwise exercise choices.

Hypoglycemia can occur if a person who is taking blood sugar lowering medication has:

  • Eaten too little carbohydrate (fruit, milk, starch) relative to the exercise.
  • Taken too much medication relative to the exercise
  • Combined effect of food and medication imbalances relative to the exercise

Those who do not take diabetes medication do not need to take these precautions. Drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise to stay well-hydrated.

Precautions for people on insulin or oral medication

Precautions to take if you take insulin or oral diabetes medication:

  • If your blood sugar level is less than 5.5 mmols/l (100 mg/dl) prior to exercise, consider eating a carbohydrate snack prior to beginning the exercise.
  • If your blood sugar level is higher than 5.5 mmols/l (100 mg/dl) before exercise, it may not be necessary to take a carbohydrate snack before a light exercise session, but you may need extra carbohydrates during or following the exercise. Check your blood to see if your blood sugar dips below 4 mmols/l (70 mg/dl) following exercise.
  • If you experience hypoglycemia then treat the hypo. You could then consider following up with your doctor. You may be advised to lower your medication on days you exercise providing your blood sugar levels are well-controlled and usually within target range
  • For long duration and/or high intensity exercise sessions, you could plan to consume carbohydrate snacks during the activity.
  • Always carry a fast-acting carbohydrate food such as glucose tablets when exercising in the event blood sugar drops too low and hypoglycemia symptoms develop during exercise.
  • Wear a form of ID, which identifies you as having diabetes, particularly if you are exercising alone so that others may help you appropriately in the event something unexpected happens.


Information courtesy of Diabetes logo 2 

For more information about Diabetes visit


What a pain in the neck!

Neck Pain Freepik

Photo Courtesy of Freepik

                                                  Pain in the neck?

Here are four easy and quick things to do at your desk to relieve neck and back pain.


  1. Sit at your desk and look straight ahead. Are you looking at the top part of your screen? If not, change it so you are. No excuses, I know you’ll find a way. Poor screen positioning is the number one cause of neck pain at work.


  1. Change what you sit on. Try sitting on a stability cushion (which can be used on your existing chair). They are great for adding movement into your day and changing the position of your neck. Try it for 20 minutes to begin with and build the time you are on it up gradually.


  1. Tuck the arm you use your mouse with into your side. Much of the pain we get at the end of the day in the top of our shoulders is from holding our arm away from us all day. Keep the elbow tucked in and your neck and shoulders will thank you for it.


  1. Stand up when a colleague comes to talk to you, or when you are on the phone and don’t need to look at a screen. Take every opportunity during the day to stand up, sitting for long periods is overrated and frankly bad for you!


Desk Job Freepik

Photo Courtesy of Freepik

Still in pain? Maybe it’s time to see your physio!

Post-Operative Physiotherapy!

The aim of Post-Operative Physiotherapy is to help you get back to ‘normal’ after you’ve had surgery.

The first stage will often be to build up the muscle tone and strength around the joint before progressing to more involved activities. Physiotherapists can also show you exercises that you can do in the comfort of your own home.

In the unfortunate event that you do run into difficulty or don’t progress and recover as well as is expected, your physiotherapist can also alert your surgeon.

The ultimate goal of physiotherapy is to help you get back to the same, if not higher, level of activity as you were previously.

Of course, depending on your pre-surgical condition and the surgery that you have had, gaining full use of a joint may not be possible even after surgery. In this case physiotherapy can help you to adapt to this change.

Many patients have tried physiotherapy before surgery as a means to manage their symptoms and condition. For some patients this doesn’t work, for others it delays the need for surgery for a period of time.

The important thing is to approach Physiotherapy with an open mind. Not successfully managing your condition does not mean that post-operative physiotherapy is a ‘waste of time’. Positive thinking goes a long way in what can be a long recovery.

Different procedures require a different number of sessions and sometimes intensity of the physiotherapy given. Whether you need to see a physiotherapist or for how long will depend on your operation, your fitness and the rate in which you recover. The number of sessions that you need can also be affected by how compliant you are with instructions and advice.

Birkdale Physiotherapy - Knee Conditions    Physiotherapy Treatment in Birkdale, Southport

Some Key points to Post-operative recovery

  • Listen to the advice given to you by your Surgeon – they will tell you if you are to only partially weight bear, or not bend past a certain point. Any special instructions will be relayed to your physiotherapist.
  • Listen to your Physiotherapist and follow any advice/instructions they give you. Remember – they are trained in this!! They see numerous patients daily with a varying range of conditions and at varying stages of recovery.
  • Listen to your own body – it often has a way of telling you if you are overdoing it.
  • Don’t under-do it! Not using a joint at all after surgery can create a whole new set of problems as the joint becomes stiff from lack of use.

We Are Triathlon!

Most of us will probably have never heard of a small town in Bavaria called Roth, It is located about 25 km south of Nuremberg. However if you are a triathlete you may well have heard of it and aspired to run the arduous  triathlon held there each summer known as Challenge Roth. Within hours yesterday the event for 2020 was already fully booked. The event welcomes hundreds and hundreds of volunteers, thousands and thousands of spectators however the most remarkable figures are the amount of entrants including over 3400 individual participants and 650 relay teams from 84 different nations. 

This years 2019 event of 3.8km Swim, 180km Bike Ride and 42.2km Run was held on Sunday 7th July and David, always up for pushing himself to the limits of course was one of the entrants and finished in the admirable time of 13hrs 46mins and still had enough energy to join in with the after event party and fireworks.

Challenge Roth 2019-002

Photographs courtesy of Challenge Roth Facebook Page and family photographs.

A Youtube Video


facebook-4 Follow this Facebook link to see David finish the race!


For further information about Challenge Roth Challenge Roth logo follow this link!

Epic Man 2019

EpicMan is the ultimate middle distance (half Iron) triathlon, based at YMCA Lakeside, on the shore of Lake Windermere. The 1.9km Swim takes place in the clear waters of Lake Windermere and is a single lap course. The 90km cycle takes place on undulating roads around the South Lakes and the half marathon will be a looped course within the grounds of YMCA Lakeside, providing great spectator support. This years event was held on Sunday 2nd June 2019.

Of course David Wordsworth in typical form was definitely NOT a spectator – well who would have ever thought he would be!!!


Epic Man 2019 Results-001

                                                Photographs Courtesy of Epic Events




British Masters 2019

Hillside Golf Club is situated in Southport, the home of “England’s Golf Coast” which boasts England’s finest stretch of coastal links. Hillside has hosted many amateur and professional tournaments in it’s illustrious history and was recently selected by the European Tour to stage the 2019 British Masters from 8th to 11th May 2019. As a huge golf fan, David Wordsworth of Birkdale Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Centre, says, “having a part to play in the tournament as a marshall means lot to me. Being so close to the action is amazing!”

The 2019 host is four times European Tour winner and 2018 Ryder Cup hero Tommy Fleetwood. The 28 year old grew up in Southport and has gone on to enjoy global success, winning four times on the European Tour and being crowned Race to Dubai Champion in 2017. He was runner up in the 2018 US Open and made a spectacular Ryder Cup debut last September, claiming four points as part of a formidable partnership with Open Champion Francesco Molinari.

For tickets, please visit: and you can find more information on the tournament here:


Respiratory Problems and Physiotherapy

While many people may assume that physiotherapy is the last thing that a person with respiratory issues should be doing, the opposite is in fact true. Correct breathing techniques are a major part of most physio-therapies, and physical training in general. Because of this, most physiotherapists will be experts in breathing techniques, and can be extremely helpful to people who are suffering from respiratory issues.

Physiotherapists can be used to help people who have respiratory problems as a result of an underlying medical condition, or for someone who may be recovering from surgery or lung trauma.

Photo Courtesy of Freepik

There are a number of ways that physiotherapy can be used to treat respiratory problems, depending on what the root cause is. Typically a person with such issues will have visited the doctor and found the underlying cause of their breathing trouble before visiting a physiotherapist, as the problem could be caused from a direct problem with the lungs to something far less obvious, such as neurological issues. If the underlying cause has been identified and physiotherapy has been deemed suitable, the physiotherapist may conduct their own examination to identify what techniques should be used.

Many respiratory diseases are characterised by the buildup of fluid (known as sputum) in the lungs. In cases like these, postural drainage is a very common technique. This is where the physiotherapist will teach a patient to lie at certain angles or get into certain positions in order to help drain the lungs of fluid. This can be helped along by the use of patting or medical apparatus in many cases.

In most cases, the physiotherapist will assess how the patient breathes, and how this can be improved. This could range from assigning breathing exercises, to completely retraining how a person breathes. As each case is different, the exact advice given will vary.

Having respiratory conditions makes it harder to breathe. And when it’s hard to breathe, it’s normal to get anxious, making you feel even more short of breath.

Aims off respiratory physiotherapy:

To maintain or improve exercise tolerance.     

Improve functional abilities (i.e. carrying out daily tasks). 

Maintain and improve physical activity. 

Coaching patients toward improving healthy behaviour.

Reduce breathlessness and the work of breathing.

Improve the efficiency of ventilation. 

Support weaning from mechanical ventilation.

Mobilize and aid the expectoration of secretions(coughing up & spitting out of mucus).

Improve knowledge and understanding.

Reduce (thoracic) pain.  

Runners Knee

Do you feel any pain behind or around your kneecap when bending your knee to squat, kneel, run, or when walking downstairs or downhill?

Free Pik Knee 1Image courtesy of FreePik 

Runners hit the ground with anything over 5 times their body weight on each stride!
So, it’s not surprising your knees & ITBs (Iliotibial band) can start to feel some pain…. the cumulative effect of each & every step in training and racing is immense.

Patello-femoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is also known as “Runner’s Knee” which occurs when the stress of running causes an irritation where the kneecap (patella) sits on the thigh bone (femur). The common causes of Runner’s Knee include:

  • overuse due to repeated bending and loading to the knee joint
  • direct trauma e.g. a fall, misalignment of the kneecap
  • a muscular imbalance of the thigh muscles which can lead to a disproportionate load on the kneecap, often due to an ITB injury

An ITB injury could be caused by a mobility issue, strength, control or simple technique fault.

Figuring out which of these factors is causing the pain will help on the road to recovery.

Free Pik Knee 3

Image courtesy of FreePik 

How to fix it

In the initial stages of pain it is important to rest the knee for a few days, with elevation, compression and regular application of ice if the knee is swollen. Taking anti-inflammatory medication may also be required if the pain and swelling is moderate to severe.

Exercises recommended for runner’s knee include:

  • hip flexor and gluteal strengthening exercises for the gluteal muscles in a non-weight bearing position initially, with progression into standing exercises.

If pain persists with return to running after 5-10 days, it is recommended to consult your doctor, an Orthopaedic specialist or a Physiotherapist for further guidance or treatment.

Prevention is key

50% of running injuries are recurrences, so do not ignore sore spots – for example in the front or outside of your knee, front or inside of your shin, around your Achilles tendon.

Although it can be frustrating, take the time to allow for the soft tissue healing process by resting and icing the area for a day or two. If this isn’t enough to ease pain continue to rest and try some light rehab for example cross training to maintain fitness, foam rolling areas above and below sore spot and taping if necessary. A running assessment may also be beneficial to identify any problems with running technique which may be affecting you bio mechanics.

Free Pik Knee 2

Image courtesy of FreePik