Whether you’re fit and active or you spend hours sitting at a computer, you can expect the odd ache or pain from time to time. But while many will disappear after a few days, some can last much longer and prevent you from carrying out your daily activities and enjoying life. Musculoskeletal (MSK) problems are a headache for employers too. 30 million working days are lost due to back, neck and muscle pain than any other cause, making it the single largest cause of workplace absence in the UK.
The importance of early intervention
When an ache or pain becomes troublesome, accessing expert medical advice and treatment quickly is essential. A report by the Work Foundation found there were several benefits of early intervention for MSK problems, including:
Quicker treatment to stabilise or control symptoms
Lower risk of developing additional conditions
Greater chance of recovery and return to work.
Fast access to treatment
Members experiencing painful bones, muscles or joints have the option to bypass their GP and self-refer to appropriate treatment. An initial call to our highly trained nurses provides support, advice and, where appropriate, fast track access to physiotherapy, osteopathy and chiropractic treatments.
Members who self-refer for physiotherapy are directed to our preferred provider Nuffield Health who operate a national network of more than 2,000 physiotherapists. Our members can arrange an appointment at a time and place convenient to them. For osteopathy and chiropractic treatment, members can use their chosen practitioner. When a more complex problem is identified, our nurses may recommend day or in-patient treatment. They’ll ensure the member can access this quickly and easily too. Find out more in the video below or in this infographic about how to treat musculoskeletal pains.
Treating the whole person
Our nurses are trained to treat the whole person rather than just the symptoms. There are many different MSK problems and some can affect people in ways that go far beyond the obvious aches and pains.
For example, because of the debilitating nature of a chronic MSK problem, it’s not uncommon to develop mood disorders and mental health problems. Where our nurses identify this as being an issue, they may recommend a course of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to help the member make a full recovery.
Saving on medical benefit costs
Cigna was the first insurer to introduce a physiotherapy self-referral service back in 2008 bringing a faster route to treatment along with potential cost savings for employers. With an 18% reduction in the average cost per MSK physiotherapy session combined with an average of two fewer sessions, employers can benefit from an overall saving of 41% when compared to GP referral to high street physiotherapists. Intermediary research also shows that our self-referral options are recognised as a key success factor in managing medical benefit costs. Learn more about the benefits of our MSK self-referral option in this infographic.