Injury Problems in the Workforce
Ever wonder why athletes are back on the playing field so quickly after an injury, meanwhile an employee at work with a similar injury ends up with a short-term disability? The answer is quite simple – employees are not being proactively managed the same way athletes are. As a result, companies continue to struggle with the management of workplace injuries and the associated rising healthcare costs.
Managing the “Industrial Athlete”
When we think of an athlete – we think of a person playing sports or exercising in the gym, but we need to understand that athletes are seen in all walks of life – especially in the workplace. From my Athletic Therapy perspective, employees are “Industrial athletes” – occupational/career driven individuals whose work requires mental and physical capabilities to perform their highly productive and goal-oriented tasks.
Employees working in the industrial sector face similar strength, agility and stamina requirements that would also be seen in the sports sector. A reality that employees might not realize for themselves, and thus do not take the necessary steps (as athletes would do) to better their health. Even office workers who spend countless hours behind a computer desk without awareness of their sitting position, ergonomics or postural habits are extremely prone to overuse injuries that can lead to tendonitis, sprains or strains. Therefore, proper employee education on postural awareness and body conditioning, along with an aggressive and accountable workplace injury management strategy are key steps that companies need to focus on to provide a more productive and cost-efficient workplace.
Time to change the workplace paradigm
Athletic Therapists have recently changed the workplace paradigm by utilizing their expertise in sports injury management and applying this model to the working population.
- Athletic therapists are uniquely qualified to help manage workplace injuries.
Our scope goes beyond manual therapy skills or exercises, but athletic therapists also focus on proactive solutions to help prevent injuries and health risks in the first place. The true essence of athletic therapy is the return to play/return to work focus that is lacking in many healthcare programs.
- Athletic therapists are injury analysts.
The key to effective solutions is to first understand the “why” behind the problem. Athletic Therapist use their skillsets ergonomics to help break down the specific tasks and actions involved to see where the breakdown is occurring. In addition, their advanced training in the study of human movement and musculoskeletal care helps to identify biomechanical/postural dysfunctions and risk factors that may also be involved with an injury or predispose one to injury. All of this information is essential as it creates faster and sustainable health changes to an individual, leading to optimal recovery, performance and a faster return to work.
As a leader in Corporate Care solutions over the past 20 years, we at Honsberger Physio+ have incorporated this Athletic Therapy model to help employees stay healthy, active and also to help companies save money. We offer centralized workplace healthcare solutions that make it easy to recognize, prioritize and avoid employee injury.
Here are some of our other proactive management strategies:
- Utilizing Athletic Therapists for on-site care for early access intervention strategies, to oversee injury management programs, and to ensure efficient and sustainable treatment outcomes.
- Implementation of warm-up and cool-down stretch programs for employees on shift.
- Promotion and encouragement of healthy lifestyles and physical fitness to employees with the goal of empowering employee accountability, improving employee morale and increasing productivity.
- Ergonomic training to ensure employees are using proper body mechanics and technique at the workplace and incorporate refresher training modules as necessary.
- Implementation of biomechanical/structural screening measures to identify risk factors and to proactively educate employees on general body care and postural awareness.
Honsberger Physio+ is all about helping you work better! Our injury prevention services offer centralized workplace healthcare solutions that make it easy to recognize, prioritize and avoid employee injury. Learn more here or contact Director of Corporate Care, Jason Varghese at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by: Jason Varghese, R.Kin, CAT(C), B.Sc.(Spec Hons). Director of Corporate Care Certified Athletic Therapist