Physical Therapy for Work Related Injury

Physical Therapy for Work Related Injury

by Stephanie Meadows

Being unable to work because you are in pain or injured can be a traumatic experience. Getting injured can hinder your performance in the workplace. People who have been injured at work have one ultimate goal: to return to work as quickly as possible, and to the activities they love doing the most. When someone becomes injured on the job, there is a lot of stress and many questions that go through their heads, such as when can I go back to work? How long will it take to move without pain and be fully mobile? Recovering from your work accident is more than just fixing the injury. After an injury has occurred, it often requires the act of rehabilitation.

As experts in the way the body moves, physical therapists are healthcare professionals who offer effective treatment to improve or restore mobility and relieve pain, reduce the need for surgery and prescription drugs, allowing patients to participate in a recovery plan designed for their specific needs. A customized physical therapy program can help individuals return to their prior level of functioning, and encourage activities and lifestyle changes that can help prevent further injury and improve overall health and well-being. 

Your physical therapist has two goals in mind when helping someone recover from a work injury:

1. Return the injured worker to work as quickly as possible, using physical therapy as a method to help reduce lost days of work

2. To assist workers’ comp case managers, adjustors, and safety managers with your workers’ comp claim, making sure your insurance and the claim has not been denied

At Watauga Orthopaedics, our team of expert physical therapists will design a treatment plan based on your work-related needs and goals. This includes real or replicated work activities that you would ordinarily do, and that match your job description. This helps doctors and physical therapists determine someone’s ability to fulfill their required job duties.

Your personal physical therapy begins with a comprehensive evaluation of functional limitations and areas of pain. This is called a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE). An FCE is a comprehensive assessment of a client's overall functional abilities. The evaluation measures range of motion, strength, endurance and tolerance to work-related tasks.

In other words, the data gathered from the FCE allows us to establish a baseline of the patient’s functional level based on their job description, and how well they complete the tasks. We can then develop an effective therapy program, a timeline for your safe return to work, and parameters to prevent re-injury.

We take a team approach and will consult with your employer and case manager, if necessary. Throughout your treatment, we will work hard to help you return to all normal functional activities. When you are ready for discharge, you will receive a personalized exercise regimen to complete at home, which will allow you to stay healthy on the job, further enhance your rehabilitation outcome, and prevent the possibility of re-injury.

If you would like to learn more about how physical therapy can help you return to work in a timely manner, call Watauga Orthopedics at (423) 282-9011, or request an appointment online.