Understanding musculoskeletal options can aid recovery

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Nobody wants an injury that puts them out of action. But getting back on your feet fast is even more crucial if you run your own business.

For some that could mean quick-fix surgery, but for others a longer-term combination of physiotherapy and other treatments might be better.

Steve James-Royle, 36, runs The Yard Creative, a design consultancy. He’s also a keen and somewhat accident-prone snowboarder and wakeboarder who’s had a number of breaks, tears and sprains over the years. While he’s always happy to put his trust in the professionals, he thinks it’s crucial to do your own research and have an awareness of what treatment will work for you and your lifestyle.

“Part of the reason I like Bupa is I get a say in what happens. A few years ago, I tore my hamstring wakeboarding. My GP suggested two or three options for specialists he could refer me to, and then I went to do my research.

“I had a look at forums, saw what papers they’d written and got information about their background before making a choice.”

Once he’d seen the specialist, he was presented with two treatment options. One involved surgery, another combined ultrasound and physiotherapy.

“The surgery would have meant I’d have been laid up in bed for a week or more. The other option meant I’d have less mobility for longer, but I’d still be able to run the business, so that suited me better.”

Dr Tom Crisp, Bupa’s musculoskeletal director, thinks this sort of involved and proactive approach is to be applauded.

He says: “Musculoskeletal injuries generally aren’t life and death. There should always be treatment options so it’s important you know what they are. I’d always suggest discussing with your GP the most appropriate specialist for you to see, and when you’re in front of the specialist, ask them what your choices are.”

When it comes to doing your own research, the internet can be helpful up to a point, but Dr Crisp warns that you need to be careful and ensure you’re getting your information from a reputable source.

“Bupa members who have musculoskeletal conditions have access to bespoke expertise through Bupa’s specialist Back Care and Knee and Hip teams, who help them access the most effective treatment quickly. Once you’ve decided on the right treatment it’s reasonable to expect that you will eventually be back to your previous levels of fitness and mobility.

“Initially it might be about modifying what you do, but it’s rarely necessary to curtail activity altogether,” says Dr Crisp. “If you’ve got an arthritic knee, you might not be able to carry on running marathons, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop running entirely.”

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