Work Hardening Program
Chiropractic Clinics of South Florida offers Work Hardening Program. We offer the WHP Program in Miami, Kendall, North Miami, Pompano, West Palm Beach and Miami Lakes. Have you been Injured in an accident and are unable to go back to work due to chronic pain or injury? Visit us today to start your road to recovery.
What is Work Hardening Program? and who is this program suitable for?
WHP is a physiotherapy-based and active rehabilitation program that is designed for clients who have not returned to their full job duties after being off work due to musculoskeletal injuries and pain, especially after 3 months, (Mayer et al. 1984). The program is specifically meant to increase the participant’s level of conditioning and physical tolerance in preparation to return to work, or to increase present work duties.
Benefits of Work Hardening Program
- Increase functional abilities, and physical ability to work
- Build and increase confidence in proper safe techniques (ie. lifting, carrying), and proper biomechanics with functional activities
- Increase cardiovascular conditioning
- Include many work simulated movements (ie. proper lifting) mostly as a preventative measure, and to ensure proper biomechanics
- Increase the rate of return to work by 52% in patients off work for greater than 4 months and helps the employer’s bottom line!
- Ultimate goal: to increase the ability to gradually return to pre-accident/injury state
Work Hardening Program Consists of
- Education sessions that focus on hurt vs. harm, proper body mechanics related to work tasks, work pacing, and injury prevention. Client will also be educated regarding optimal posture, back and neck care, pain management during work tasks.
- Supportive treatment may be used by the physiotherapists and assistants (when required), to alleviate pain, decrease inflammation and promote healing. The modalities consist of: Ultrasound, TENS, acupuncture, interferential current, laser, heat/cold, and manual techniques.
- Structured exercise program, including range of motion, flexibility, stability, focusing on strengthening, and conditioning exercises, which are progressed upon patient’s tolerance. The exercise program is performed in a supervised environment and using various gym equipment (pulleys, resistance bands, free weights, stability ball, strengthening machines, treadmills, stationary bikes, steps, wobble boards).
- Work simulated tasks are designed according to essential tasks that are required on regular duties. A Physical Demands Analysis (PDA) is completed with client and employer’s input. The physiotherapist will create specific job simulation tasks which are initially supervised and will be progressed in frequency, load and duration.
- Return to Work and Progression of duties Coordination. This will include follow up calls to either the Employer or WSIB (or both) regarding client’s progress and goals achieved and targeted. Employer will be contacted in order to allow gradual return to work, as will be increasing the hours and duties and ensure proper body mechanics, and appropriate stretching breaks. Functional Abilities Forms can be completed by Physiotherapist upon WSIB and Employer’s requests (Dayo et al. 1997).
- Develop a home exercise program. Upon completing this program, the client is instructed on continuing ROM, flexibility, stability, strengthening, and conditioning exercises, at home, at his own pace. The client should be able to apply learned strategies of pain management, and use the correct ergonomics and body mechanics with work tasks.
Most commonly, a Work Hardening Program is recommended at 3-5 sessions per week, for 6-8 weeks, depending on the participant’s level and type of job to which participant returns to. The client is expected to spend from 1 to 3 up to 4 hours in facility. The length of the session will gradually increase, as the worker exercise tolerance and functional abilities are improving.