Work Hardening Physical Therapy: Strengthening Your Body After an Injury

work hardening physical therapy

If you have recently been injured and are now in the process of recovering, work hardening physical therapy may be a good option for you. This type of therapy is designed to help you regain your strength and range of motion after an injury. It can be especially helpful for those who have suffered a traumatic injury or have experienced significant muscle loss. In this blog post, we will discuss what work hardening physical therapy is and how it can benefit you. We will also provide some tips on how to prepare for your rehabilitation journey.

The goal of post-work rehabilitation and work hardening is to help patients recover enough function to return to work. These therapies are wonderful for people who have gone through standard physical therapy but still lack full job functionality in specific tasks required on the job. Treatment toward the rehabilitation and work hardening goals of increasing patient ability to withstand strain and meet job demands while reducing new or worsened injuries is provided through real-world or simulated workplace activities.

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work hardening physical therapy
work hardening physical therapy

Work condition

The goal of rehabilitation is to assist people who have suffered a stroke or other neurological injury recover their systemic, neurological, cardiopulmonary, and musculoskeletal functions. Strength, mobility, power, endurance, motor control, and functional abilities are all affected by rehabilitation. A work conditioning program is a halfway point in the rehabilitation process. The objectives of a work conditioning regimen are to restore the patient’s physical capacity and functional capabilities, prevent further harm from the same accident, and lessen workers’ fears of reentering employment.

Work hardening

Hardening is a specialized, highly structured program that aims to assist people in recovering to their pre-injury work capacity in a safe and timely manner. It focuses on helping patients recover their biomechanical, cardiovascular, metabolic, neuromuscular, and psychosocial functions while performing work activities. Work-hardening therapy is multidisciplinary, incorporating physical treatment, occupational therapy, psychotherapy, and vocational rehabilitation. It includes cardiovascular conditioning, spine and joint stabilization workouts, and job task training.

Who may benefit from work conditioning/hardening?

• Police Officers

• Firefighters

• Electricians

• Plumbers

• Mechanics

• Construction Workers

• Healthcare Providers

• Painters

• Post office employees

• Any other labor-intensive professionals

What to anticipate

Work conditioning and work hardening are 4 to 8-week functional programs that address the patient’s precise job requirements. Work conditioning therapies range from 1 to 3 hours every week for 2-3 days. Work hardening sessions usually take place on three to five days a week for two to four hours each time for three to five days. Each treatment is tailored to the patient’s unique injury and is decided by the treating physician. The length and frequency of the treatments may frequently be modified in accordance with the patients work schedule.

Baseline that Is Functional

At the first visit, a therapist will examine the damage and the patients’ requirements in line with their profession. The therapist will need to:

1. Determine the patient’s current physical activity (sedentary, light, medium, or heavy).

2. Determine the patient’s aerobic capability (poor, fair, average, good, or excellent).

3. Determine the patient’s grip strength.

4. Determining the patient’s mobility, core, and joint specific strengths in light of their injury is critical.

After the functional baseline is established, a tailored training regimen will be created to improve the patient’s existing physical abilities. The rehabilitation program will also include activities designed to help the patient return to work. These will be done with moderate to high intensity cardiovascular and strengthening exercises, as well as stretching and mobility training particularly tailored to the demands of their job. The referring physician, as well as any other authorized parties, will be contacted periodically to provide progress reports documenting the patient’s attendance, engagement, and advancement. When the patient regains complete function or reaches a plateau, discharge orders are issued.