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I’m Scheduled For Work Hardening Or Work Conditioning. What Should I Expect?

Work hardening and work conditions are two phrases that usually point to the final stage of your worker’s compensation physical therapy.

Worker’s compensation claims aren’t always as straightforward as people assume. The scenario where you get injured, get treated, and go back to work as if nothing happened isn’t a reality for all Missouri workers.

This creates a bit of a problem when an injured worker is faced with a situation within the claim that they’ve never heard of before, such as work hardening or work conditioning.

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A Quick Explanation

Work hardening and work conditions are two phrases that usually point to the final stage of your worker’s compensation physical therapy.

In worker’s comp, if your injury results in certain complications, you may have to go through physical therapy in order to regain full control over your body. At the end of the process, there is a question that must be answered: can you return to work? Or, do you need modified work?

Your job is safe while you are on worker’s compensation, but there is a possibility for the worker to be physically unable to resume their work activity or to need slight modifications in their tasks. You will have to go through work hardening and work conditions, where you’ll go through simulated work tasks to prepare you to return to your job, but in some cases, the fate of your employment can be decided here.

What to Expect From It

First, you will be asked to describe what you do at your place of employment, which will help the physical therapist design a personalized program. In most cases, you should not rely on job descriptions alone, as that may be too vague or leave out certain key activities you routinely do.

The more specific you are about what you do at your job, the better the physical therapist can create the simulation.

Work hardening and work conditioning are quite complex processes and can be created differently by different physical therapy clinics. Usually, they can consist of just a few sessions, but some injured workers may go through them for a few weeks. 

As for the activities themselves, these greatly depend on what kind of job you have. For instance, if you work in construction and have to handle machinery to perform your job, the physical therapy may test your grip to see if you can accurately use the equipment from now on.

In a way, work conditioning and work hardening are ways to prepare you to go back to work after an injury, beyond the general physical therapy methods you’ve already gone through.

St. Louis Work Injury Lawyers

In some cases, work conditioning and work hardening can affect your worker’s compensation claim, if your therapist clears you too early or the simulation isn’t properly constructed for your job’s particularities.

If you have been injured on the job, please reach out to a St. Louis worker’s compensation lawyer to ensure your rights are protected.

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Updated: July 27, 2020