Addressing Patients Job Issues: implications for PTs

Reference:Shaw WS, al Addressing occupational factors in the management of low back pain: implications for physical therapist practice. Physical Therapy. 2011; 91(5):777-789.

Systematic reviews show that after a musculoskeletal injury, patients’ report of heavy physical job demands, inability to modify job tasks, work stress, lack of support, poor expectations for returning to work, and fear of re-injury are all associated with poor prognosis.

At the 2011 APTEI Symposium, Sam Gerstein, MD, presented mounting evidence on how job dissatisfaction is negatively associated with return to work… but what can we do about it in our daily practice? This recent article in Physical Therapy clearly outlines our role.

PT role should include:

(1) Administration of self-report questionnaires to assess a client’s perspective of their job

What is your current level of job satisfaction?
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
I hate my job….I love my job

(2) Client-centered interviewing to highlight return-to-work concerns

“Can you tell me what you are worried about with respect to returning to work?”

(3) Early discussions with clients about possible job modifications

“What in your job would you like modified in order to help us help you return to work?”

(4) Incorporation of clients’ workplace concerns in reports

If these issues are not frankly discussed and somehow addressed with the patient who either fears or hates his/her job, PT will most likely be a waste of time …no matter how amazing your modalities, stabilization or mobilization techniques are!

Posted on: October 06, 2011

Categories: Relevant Physical Therapy Articles

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