You’ve likely heard of physical therapy and occupational therapy. But did you know there is a specialized type of therapy called industrial rehabilitation? Let’s cover who it helps and how it differs from other well-known forms of rehab.
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What Is Industrial Rehabilitation?
Industrial rehab is sometimes known as work hardening/work conditioning. It helps employees complete their jobs safely through:
- Workplace adjustments.
Industrial therapy includes the expertise of both physical and occupational therapists at UPMC.
You might have this type of rehab if you:
- Suffer an injury at work.
- Have an accident or illness that affects your ability to work.
- Have concerns about work-related activities or your ability to perform required lifting activities.
You may seek it out on your own, or your employer may offer this service.
Industrial Rehabilitation Assessments for Workers
After an accident or major illness, you may need to determine what work tasks you’re able to do. It may even be required to return to work or to find a new job.
An occupational therapist may conduct a functional capacity evaluation (FCE). It measures how well you can perform your job functions.
An FCE looks at your medical history and evaluates the following:
- Physical assessment of your range of motion (ROM) and strength.
- Lifting a certain amount of weight.
- Cardiovascular endurance.
- Postural tolerances.
- Essential job activities and training on proper techniques and body mechanics.
Some employees may also benefit from an ergonomic assessment. This looks at your workstation, equipment, and the tools you use each day.
You may get feedback for:
- Assistive devices.
- Workstation changes that improve posture and safety.
- Equipment changes or appropriate equipment recommendations.
Assessments and Services for Employers
Industrial rehab therapists do pre-employment physical skills tests to make sure candidates can meet job requirements.
These specialists also assess employees coming back to work after an injury or illness and:
- Decide if the worker can perform job functions.
- Offer guidance on changes that will allow the employee to return to work safely.
- Provide job site shadowing and coaching.
- Provide job site analysis and assess physical demands/postures.
Industrial rehab also offers work safety training programs and stretch programs for businesses.
Therapists can provide group or one-on-one training in:
- Safely handling materials.
- Proper posture and body mechanics to perform work-related tasks.
- Pre-work stretch programs to ensure proper technique.
Therapists can also answer questions about industrial rehabilitation.
To learn more about industrial rehabilitation at UPMC, call 1-888-723-4277 or visit our website.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on , and was last reviewed on .
The UPMC Rehabilitation Institute offers inpatient, outpatient, and transitional rehabilitation, as well as outpatient physician services so that care is available to meet the needs of our patients at each phase of the recovery process. Renowned physiatrists from the University of Pittsburgh Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, as well as highly trained physical, occupational, and speech therapists, provide individualized care in 12 inpatient units within acute care hospitals and over 80 outpatient locations close to home and work.