Work Hardening – What Exactly Will I Do?

Most people who are referred for Work Hardening have physical barriers that prevent them from reaching their work goals. Examples of these are stiffness, weakness, poor balance, or poor endurance. We stress general fitness, endurance, and work simulation, as well as specific muscle and joint work as needed. The exact combination of these physical restoration elements is customized for each client. Work simulation is one of the most important elements of your rehabilitation, and is something you may not have experienced in your previous physical therapy sessions.

In addition, many clients who have been off work for a long period of time are struggling with non-physical issues such as ongoing pain limiting their function, fear, anxiety, and even anger. If you are experiencing these challenges, we can help. In addition to all the same physical conditioning and job simulation activities, we use an evidence-based, neuroscience approach that involves pain neuroscience education (PNE) and progressive exposure to activities identified as painful/problematic. Our staff is specifically trained to distinguish between “hurt” and “harm” and we will help you know when it’s safe to work through symptoms, and how to use your body more effectively. We find that this approach of gradual exposure to painful activities has great success with long-lasting pain syndromes or fear of return to function. Most clients experience a significant increase in ability to work, even if their symptoms don’t completely go away.