Female warehouse employee wrapping splint around her wrist

On-Site Early Intervention: Non work-related injuries Improving Health and Wellness

Tom Rothery, OTR, CFCE
Team Lead – Injury Elimination Specialist

Providing on-site care for work-related injuries can be just as important as treating non-work-related injuries. The difference is that non-work-related injuries can be approached with more skilled care, and treatments can be customized to maximize the employee's ability to recover. The impact of providing this service from the employer's view is often not seen in these cases. Due to HIPPA regulations, the information on these outcomes are never conveyed to the employer. However, this type of service is an important aspect to the company's ability to maintain a healthy and productive workforce. Providing this on-site service can decrease the need for employees to seek unnecessary medical care. This can also impact the employers indirectly if employees experience a non-work-related injury or illness causing them to miss work for extended periods of time. The employer will be impacted by having lost work time, lost productivity, and having to train other workers due to injury and/or illnesses.

Just last month, I provided treatment for a non-work-related injury to an employee named Amy. She presented with symptoms consistent with right carpal tunnel syndrome. Which included frequent "numbness and tingling" in the right thumb, index, and middle fingers that increased over the previous 2 months. She stated that her symptoms had been occurring infrequently for the last few years. Amy also mentioned that most recently her right hand would "cramp," and she felt her right grip strength was weaker compared to her left hand. After completion of the evaluation, she exhibited positive signs of carpal tunnel syndrome in the right wrist. No atrophy was noted in the right thenar eminence which was a good indication that her symptoms could be treated conservatively.

The recommended treatment consisted of consisted splint wearing at night with less splint use during the day, and education on the type of splint to purchase. I performed retrograde massage to decrease the edema in the right hand and wrist. Specific stretches were performed to decrease the pressure on the median nerve while active and passive range of motion stretches for the wrist and hand were performed to increase elasticity of muscle fibers.

Less than two weeks after treatment, Amy reported no problems of numbness and/or tingling in the right hand! We were able to wean her off the splint wearing and begin with gentle strengthening exercises for the forearm, wrist, and hand. Amy reported full resolution of symptoms in 4 weeks with improvements in her grip strength and was thrilled with the outcome! She continues to perform her strengthening exercises as needed. She was initially very concerned about her symptoms and feared surgery would be the only option. By educating Amy on the underlying issues with regards to her wrist/hand and providing treatment to help resolve them, she better understood how to manage her symptoms in the future.

This is just one example of the many cases involving non-work-related conditions we have successfully resolved on-site at various companies. The importance of treating the non-work-related aches and pains of employees can be just as important as the work-related injuries your employees experience. Reducing recordable injuries is always a major focus of companies. Management spends a lot of time and effort in reducing these incidents, but the recovery of your employees from non-work-related injuries is just as important. Providing on-site early intervention services such as these can help reduce some of the indirect medical costs. The major benefit of having on-site physical and occupational therapists at companies can help reduce a significant amount of the direct and indirect costs incurred by the employer. The ability to treat the employee can be done quickly and conveniently on site, with the cost being significantly lower compared to outsourcing that employee to a doctor or outside clinic.

OccuCare is an industry leader in providing companies with comprehensive injury prevention programs. This includes: On-Site Early Intervention, Post Offer Employment Testing (POETs), Job Demands Analysis, Stretching Programs, Ergonomics, and Wellness Programs. Our highly trained clinicians have over 50 years of combined experience in treating workers and providing companies with comprehensive injury prevention programs that reduce your workers' compensation claims costs. Contact OccuCare at info@occucare.net or 1-833-858-9946 to learn more about how we can help your company eliminate injuries.