The goal of a work hardening program:
- Educate clients regarding effective pain management
- Increase range of motion, flexibility and strength of affected area(s)
- Improve functional abilities and physical ability to work
- Educate and demonstrate safe techniques (ie. lifting, carrying) and proper biomechanics with functional activities to reduce the risk of injury
- Improve cardiovascular conditioning
- Perform work-simulated movements specific to client occupation to ensure proper biomechanics
- Gradually return client to pre-accident/injury state
Components of a Work Hardening Program:
- Education sessions that focus on hurt vs. harm, proper body mechanics related to work tasks, work pacing and injury prevention. The 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, acupuncture, interferential current, laser, heat/cold and manual techniques.
- Structured exercise program, including a 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 the client and employer’s input (ideal). The physiotherapist will create specific job simulation tasks which are initially supervised and will be progressed in frequency, load and duration.
- 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 their 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.
Recommended Length of Work Hardening Program
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 the facility. The length of the session will gradually increase, as the worker’s exercise tolerance and functional abilities are improving. These sessions can be optimally provided up to 8 hours/day, with a frequency of 5 days/week for 8 weeks.
At Berton Physiotherapy & Chiropractic you can rest assured that our experience and track record of implementing work-hardening programs in Windsor has helped many of our patients return to work safely. We’re ready to help you too.
So if you’re in need of work hardening in Windsor then call Team Berton 519-966-8200.