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InjuryFree introduces innovative shoulder program

Imagine all the things that you can’t do when you can’t lift your hand above your head.

Shoulder injuries can keep us from enjoying everything from a cup of coffee to a playful afternoon with our children. But they are especially noticeable at work.

About 12 percent of all workplace strain, sprain and tear injuries involve the shoulder, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS adds that these injuries kept employees away from work for an average of 21 days.

That’s why InjuryFree is introducing a preventative shoulder program for employees at the Kimberly Clark Mill in Belmont, MI.

The innovative approach to preventative healthcare in the workplace is being piloted by InjuryFree Inc. and Mike Schneider, an exercise therapist working for InjuryFree Inc.

The program breaks workplace molds in several ways.

“The big thing is this is proactive rather than reactive,” Schneider said.

Here’s how it works.

At Kimberly Clark, 100 people who have no pre-existing shoulder injuries, file in and out of the exercise therapist’s small office, located on site. Fifteen minutes at a time, Schneider assesses range of motion, existing pain or tightness and identifies potential problems.

After the initial assessment, Schneider divides that group of 100 employees into different risk categories and that determines the next step. Some might have felt a twinge of pain. Those people start an in-office exercise therapy program. Others might be compensating with injury-prone muscles because the shoulders aren’t strong enough; they start a strengthening program. Others might have no problems at all; they get put on a watch list.

No matter what category the employee lands in, their time commitment in Schneider’s office is 15 minutes twice per week. All the tools of the trade, including isokinetic testing machines, are included in that little office.

“All of our protocols are simplified into giving the most bang for your buck,” Schneider said. “Part of this is educating people on early signs and symptoms. You know, pain is not an injury, but it will lead to one.”

These shoulder pains can cause a big headache for workforce management. The BLS reported in a 2010 statistical release that shoulder injuries take more than twice as many median days of recovery than any other strain, sprain or tear. In this report, truck drivers were hit the hardest with 34 median days away from work. Next on the list were janitors and cleaners, laborers, freight movers with 27 median days away.

These data don’t even include the musculoskeletal disorders, which account for 29 percent of all workplace injuries and illnesses requiring time away.

“What we found from doing this … is that when we see an increase in their strength there is a decrease in injury,” Schneider said. “Plus they see a better quality of life.”

If you would like more information about InjuryFree’s prevention programs, contact us on Twitter (@InjuryFree), on Facebook or by clicking here.

Do you have an injury prevention program in your workplace? Is is similar to or different from what InjuryFree is doing here?

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One Comment

  1. Abir says:

    No one here can give you an answer. A resalnaboe settlement/award range hinges on dozens of factors: pre-existing conditions, extent of injuries, medical expenses, prognosis, etc. Practically speaking, you will not recover any more than the insurance policy limits, and very likely significantly less.

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