Prevent It

WorkWell's Workplace Injury Prevention Blog

Addressing Soft Tissue Injuries: What is the Best Approach?

Adopting a holistic approach incorporating early intervention is crucial for effectively managing and preventing workplace-related pain and discomfort. By offering prompt care and addressing the underlying cause of the issue, employers can prioritize the well-being of their employees and foster a healthier work environment.

The Importance of Early Intervention

Early intervention encompasses a variety of modalities, including preventive care screening, first aid, employee education, ergonomics, and job coaching. The key is that it is done right where the workers are – at the workplace!

One important reason why onsite preventive care is effective in addressing common workplace musculoskeletal (MSK) issues is the presence of an onsite provider who can promptly assess and intervene to alleviate discomfort and prevent further soft tissue problems. It's much easier and more successful to address minor aches and pains early on than to treat a long-standing soft tissue injury. As time goes on, the healing process becomes more challenging.

In the absence of an onsite early intervention program, workers reporting musculoskeletal discomfort to their employer are sent to urgent care or other offsite clinics. Upon seeing the medical provider, they are often prescribed medication and/or physical therapy. They are assigned work restrictions or taken off work entirely, immediately resulting in OSHA-recordable injuries.  Onsite services such as Workwell’s results demonstrate that 85% or more of these workers may have benefited from onsite early intervention and experienced a complete resolution of their symptoms without ever having to leave the workplace. Without prescription medication. Without formal physical therapy. Without lost work time.

Do No Harm

Naturally, the safety and well-being of patients are always the utmost priority for healthcare providers. Even the most skilled orthopedic surgeons understand the significance of recognizing when certain interventions may not be suitable. Providing the incorrect level of care can result in wasted time, unnecessary expenses, and potential harm. It is vital to comprehend that treatment for muscle aches and pains reported at work, much like surgery, cannot be approached with a one-size-fits-all mentality. Screenings conducted by trained professionals onsite can assist in identifying cases that necessitate specific medical interventions, such as physical therapy, medication, or other forms of specialized treatment. At the core of every intervention is providing whatever care the worker needs to resolve symptoms.

Care Beyond the Clinic

By proactively offering onsite early intervention, employers ensure their valued employees receive prompt and appropriate care, effectively preventing minor issues from escalating into more serious problems. Onsite care goes deeper than just providing immediate relief from discomfort; it also extends to identifying and addressing the underlying root cause of the problem.

Integrating ergonomic recommendations and offering job coaching at the workstation can revolutionize workplace pain management. Addressing the employee’s symptoms and tackling the source of their discomfort, particularly during work, optimizes healing. Problems like poor posture, overexertion, overuse, or improper fit can only be resolved by addressing the issue at its root.

Simply treating the symptoms without considering the underlying cause is like putting a band-aid on a crack; it won't fully address the employee's pain problem. Employers should seek onsite providers who can promptly address acute discomfort and possess the expertise to identify and eliminate environmental or biomechanical factors contributing to the issue. It's important to find providers with specialized training in manufacturing ergonomics, as this adds to their clinical knowledge and ensures a diverse approach to care.  A Managed MSK Clinic with a trained provider and a team of experts can proactively work with employers to help with strains and sprains and manage them so they don’t turn into any injuries.

The Take Home Message

To effectively resolve workplace musculoskeletal (MSK) issues, it is essential to take a multifaceted approach. The key to success lies in finding the right onsite providers or a managed service provider who can offer the appropriate levels of care and implement solutions for effectively managing and preventing the pain and discomfort of workers both in the clinic and on the work floor.

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