At Nashville Physical Therapy & Performance, our mission is to help active people stay active – without medication, without surgery and without pain. When someone thinks of an “active” individual, they often think about an athlete or someone who regularly goes to the gym to workout.
But what about people in the workplace?
Let’s face it, most people spend more time in a day doing work activities than they do in the gym working out, right? Think about your own work activities. Have you ever considered whether your body is properly equipped for the work you do? Do you have an active job? If so, do you stretch or perform a strengthening program specifically designed for the work you do? Or maybe you have a sedentary job. Do you know what exercises or stretches will help reduce the aches and pains you feel from sitting all day?
Believe it or not, the incidence of injuries in the workplace is relatively equal between people with active jobs and people with sedentary jobs. So, if it makes sense to keep your body in shape for your marathon training or weekend cycling club, why wouldn’t it make sense to keep your body in shape for the work you do in your daily job?
The answer is simple. It DOES make sense. In fact, it makes PERFECT sense.
But rarely does anyone actually do it.
Why? Well, it hasn’t become the norm yet.
It’s well accepted that getting an annual physical with a primary care physician is super important and should be something everyone does to maintain good health. But let me ask you something: have you ever had a physical that included a full musculoskeletal exam? A musculoskeletal exam would include having your joint mobility, flexibility and strength tested. I can say with about 99% certainty that the answer is probably “no”, because this type of screening is not a standard of practice in our current system.
Why isn’t it a current standard of practice? That’s a great question! While I don’t have an obvious answer for you, I DO know for certain that it SHOULD be.
Most work-related injuries are musculoskeletal injuries, and there are a LOT of things that can be done to prevent these injuries when they are addressed early. Some companies provide rewards for healthy activities or discounts on insurance premiums for getting an annual physical. Other companies offer gym memberships or even add a gym to their facility for employees to use within the office building. These programs are great incentives to get healthier, but they often come without any education regarding the what’s the how’s and the why’s.
You might be thinking, “Well we have a safety program in place, and we already educate our employees about how to minimize accidents on the job.” Minimizing accidents by operating safely on the job is extremely important. But what’s being done to address the everyday aches & pains that do not occur from an accident? Specifically, the aches and pains that tend to occur for “no apparent reason.” These are the ones that tend to sneak up on us over time, and are often due to posture, positioning, or possibly from not having enough flexibility or strength for the task at hand.
These gradual aches and pains that worsen over time tend to sneak up on us because initially they are more of a nuisance than anything. Because the ache or pain isn’t severe, and because it goes away when we change tasks or go home for the evening, we tend to put it off and not worry much about it, assuming it will get better in time. But when we do nothing, the activity we are doing or the position we are in that is causing the ache or pain, remains unchanged, and over time, the pain gets worse and worse. At some point, you’ll probably grab the bottle of Aleve to keep in your car or your office drawer. This is a temporary solution because it covers up the symptom, but it still doesn’t address the actual cause.
When the symptoms continue to worsen (because you never actually addressed the cause) you might finally give in and go to the doctor. This is when things start to get expensive and inconvenient, because it’s possible that imaging may be ordered, or other medications may be prescribed. Hopefully you will be told to start a round of physical therapy, but the problem is that by the time it’s bad enough for that referral, it’s usually gotten to the point in which a significant amount of treatment needs to be performed. For those who are too busy to leave work 3x’s/week to rehabilitate their injury and directly address the CAUSE of the pain, may end up resorting to opioids (which is a huge problem) or eventually progress to the point of needing surgery down the road. It can be a viscous cycle, and we hate viscous cycles.
But there’s good news to this story and a very simplistic solution to break the viscous cycle of work-related aches and pains. And at Nashville Physical Therapy & Performance, we get SUPER excited to talk about our workplace wellness programs and how they can be a win-win for both employers and employees. The goal is simple. The goal is to make people aware of how to prevent aches and pains related to their work, as well as to resolve these aches and pains BEFORE they become a full-blown injury and require time away from the job or copious amounts of money spent on healthcare bills. That’s it!
Here’s what we do in our programs:
1. We LISTEN to you and your employees needs
2. We design a CUSTOMIZED program to help resolve the issues your workforce is experiencing
3. We EDUCATE on both the HOW, and even more importantly, on the WHY
Every workplace setting has different needs. Part of our program development includes a site assessment and conversations with employees about what aches and pains they experience at the end of the workday. We then work WITH you to develop programming suitable for your company’s specific needs. Maybe that’s a morning stretch & flex program that is customized to the activities the employees will be performing all day. Maybe it’s an educational seminar to teach proper positioning and body mechanics at work. Maybe it’s developing job-specific exercise programs that can be done at home with basic home equipment, like resistance bands and foam rollers. Or maybe it consists of purchasing your employees a total body wellness assessment at one of our 4 locations in which we will provide a detailed musculoskeletal exam and customized exercise program to improve whatever deficits are found during the exam. Programming like this doesn’t just provide your employees with a “value-added” experience or a small discount on their insurance. A customized program like this can provide them with life-changing results, not only for them, but also for their families.
Sound interesting? We sure think it is! If you have questions, we would LOVE to answer them. Contact us today (firstname.lastname@example.org) to learn more about our workplace wellness programs and how our services can help change the course of care for both you and your employees.