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From affected joints to aching bones, musculoskeletal disorders can have a profound impact on a person’s quality of life.
Unfortunately, many of the adult population are affected by these sorts of conditions and this can massively impact their quality of life.
College providers must therefore consider how their own students are affected by these sorts of conditions and what they can do to help.
If you don’t have procedures in place to cater to students with such problems, you must. Above all that, you must also ensure that such conditions aren’t caused by the environment of your college premises.
Is there a way that college providers can help those who suffer from such pain? And, what preventative action can they take to stop these types of disorders developing? Read on as we explore the issues further.
Believe it or not, one in four of British adults have a musculoskeletal disorder. Based on data gathered in 2016/17, 45% of musculoskeletal disorders are to do with the upper limbs or neck, 38% to do with the back, and 17% involve the lower limbs.
There is a downward trend of musculoskeletal disorders per 100,000 from 2001 to 2017, but it’s still an issue that must be considered. If one of your students suffers from a musculoskeletal disorder, they might have issues with their attendance.
With such a high percentage of UK adults suffering from such conditions, you’ll likely have someone on your team that does. What can college teachers do to make learning and achieving goals more possible for these students? And potentially reduce the number of days missed from attending college?
Remote working is one area that you could look into if your students with musculoskeletal disorders have issues with attendance. Provide them with the option to work from home a couple of days per week with the help of learning materials in a digital format and a face-to-face chat via Skype, to ensure they don’t fall behind which could lead to further pressures and strains.
If the students are not based close by the college, alleviating them from a commute to college everyday could be beneficial. Instead, students can stay at home where they may feel more comfortable and get on with their studies — reducing stress and promoting wellbeing.
If you allow your students with musculoskeletal disorders to work from home when necessary, they’re likely be more flexible and attend any doctors and physio appointments in their own time.
Perhaps their rehabilitation centre is closer to home than it is from college, and less time may be spent getting to and from their sessions than if they were travelling from college lessons.
To help make your college students more comfortable in the classroom, why not buy specialist equipment to help them out?
Examples of these include:
For back pain relief and mental wellbeing, could you potentially offer your students complementary therapy? Your college may already offer different types of therapy but is it specific to sufferers of musculoskeletal disorders?
This could also help reduce stress levels for individual students and increase the number of days spent in college. There is a clear link between musculoskeletal disorders, mental health and lifestyle productivity.
In fact, depression is four times more common amongst people in persistent pain compared to those without pain.
Ensuring that all students have someone to talk to if they are feeling under pressure is important and encouraging positive energy throughout your group of students with social events can also help.
If students are feeling extra stress, it could be worth looking into hiring extra teaching assistants or referring the students for therapy for example.
Why not encourage yoga lessons too? There are many ways that colleges could encourage their students to participate in this exercise — through organised classes at lunchtimes or after work, or through funding the classes.
Although expensive, it’s possible that this extra exercise will help manage pain levels, boost wellbeing and reduce the number of days missed from college.
Making sure that your students feel valued is essential. What else can college providers do to support their students with musculoskeletal disorders?
Lee Dover is a senior copywriter at Mediaworks with an interest in healthcare as well as researching into healthier ways of living. He has a BA (Hons) in Magazine Journalism.
State of Musculoskeletal Health 2017 report — Arthritis Research UK