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Multidisciplinary rehabilitation of chronic work-related upper extremity disorders. Long-term effects.

Feuerstein M; Callan-Harris S; Hickey P; Dyer D; Armbruster W; Carosella AM
J Occup Med 1993 Apr; 35(4):396-403
A multicomponent rehabilitation program for chronic work related upper limb disorders was evaluated. The program consisted of a 30 minute warm up period, 55 minutes of physical conditioning, 55 minutes of work conditioning, and 45 minutes of instruction in job related pain and stress management daily for 4 to 6 weeks, an ergonomic evaluation of the patients workplace, and vocational counseling and placement. The program was designed for persons who had been disabled for at least 3 months. The study group consisted of 34 patients with work related musculoskeletal disorders of the upper limbs. All patients had been disabled for at least 3 months and were receiving workers compensation and medical benefits. The injuries involved nerve entrapment and tendinitis related upper extremity disorders. Nineteen patients participated in the rehabilitation program. The remaining 15 were given the usual care, treatment by a primary care physician and a rehabilitation nurse, and served as the comparisons. The two groups were equivalent in terms of age, pain severity, fear of reinjury, degree of psychological distress, perceived stress and job control in the former work environment, and educational background. The program participants and comparisons were contacted an average of 17 and 18 months after they completed the program, respectively, to determine if they had returned to work. A significantly higher proportion of program participants had returned to work than the comparisons, 73.7 versus 40.0%. The proportion of program participants who were working full time was also significantly higher than the comparisons, 91 versus 50.0%. The authors conclude that the multicomponent rehabilitation program does achieve a higher return to work rate than that achieved by traditional methods. The return to work rate might be improved by modifying some of the program components.
JOCMA7; NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Cooperative-Agreement; Occupational-health-programs; Disabled-workers; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Ergonomics; Physical-exercise; Cumulative-trauma-disorders; Occupational-medicine; Job-stress
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Journal Article
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Cooperative Agreement
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Journal of Occupational Medicine
Page last reviewed: September 22, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division