Work ConditioningDr. Howard Liss treats disorders that cause pain and disability by providing consultative services and soft tissue and joint injections when needed. When medically appropriate, he makes specific referrals for diagnostic testing (lab work, imaging, electrodiagnosis), physical and occupational therapy, interventional procedures (epidurals and facet joint injections), and surgery.
In speaking of employees that are injured, there are instances where the employee has completed prescribed therapy, yet remains unable to return to work. This may be because of a functional deficit or impairment, particularly if their job requires some extent of physical labor. Thus, as a higher level of therapeutic intervention that is specially designed to help employees return to work, work conditioning is a full body rehabilitation program.
Highly individualized, work conditioning combines multiple therapies, under the direction of a physiatrist. As physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) specialists, physiatrists evaluate and manage treatment for a number of conditions that affect the brain, spinal cord, nerves, bones, joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons. In addition, they hold specialized training in non-operative therapies for neurological and musculoskeletal conditions, as they relate to other vital organ systems.
Leading an integrated team of medical professionals such as physical and occupational therapists, clinicians and interventionists, physiatrists coordinate rehabilitation relating to work hardening and work conditioning, with the goal of helping employees obtain their highest level of functioning.
Work Conditioning to Return To Work
Perhaps the most effective work conditioning programs are ones with a personalized design, incorporating real work situations and tasks into rehabilitation. Sometimes called “industrial rehabilitation,” some employers allow for physical and occupational therapists to expand therapy on-site, which provides an obvious benefit to the employee. Even so, significant progress can be made in a rehabilitation clinic, where props and simulation-type activities are incorporated to restore specific skills as related to one’s job.
To better understand, consider the case of a construction worker that is participating in a work-conditioning program. The therapist may assemble a station where the worker pushes and pulls a wheelbarrow or climbs a ladder. While doing so, the therapist acts as a coach, suggesting modifications and assisting with posture and positioning. Ergonomics testing may also be performed in order to quantify an employee’s risk of musculoskeletal injury or disorder (MSD).
While the timeline for work conditioning varies from case to case, physiatrists are adept at managing and revising treatment to ensure a successful return to work (RTW) program.
Howard Liss, M.D. remains a trusted physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) specialist in Tenafly, with a passion for empowering patients as they aim to return to work. Therefore, if you have successfully met standards with previous treatment programs, but remain unable to return to work, Dr. Liss invites you to contact the Howard Liss, M.D. Rehabilitation Institute today.