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Pain and Productivity  

Pain is a complex, personal experience and can be influenced by biological, psychological, and social factors. It can be associated with actual tissue damage or act as a signal to protect the body from a potential injury. Therefore, pain does not necessarily mean a physical injury has occurred and the experience of pain can change day to day.  Persistent (chronic) pain is any pain that lasts longer than 3 months or that is beyond normal healing times and results in an average of 9 days of work missed per year or 2.4-9.8 hours/week of productivity loss.  

A warehouse worker holding his neck and shoulder in pain

Persistent pain can lead to poor sleep, less engagement with work duties, increased risk for musculoskeletal injuries, increased opioid use, low energy, brain fog and higher employee turnover. Physical Therapy is a great way to prevent injuries and improve movements while on the job site.  

How can a physical therapist collaborate with you?  

  • Stretching: Create a stretching program that allows you to get your body moving and alleviate some tightness and tension.  
  • Strengthening: Discover areas that could benefit from stabilization and strength and guide you to the correct exercises.  
  • Education: Knowledge is power. Understanding pain and how it affects you allows you to strategize how to treat it.  
  • Body mechanics: Analyzing how you move your body at work to stay healthy and pain free. 
  • Low impact aerobics training: Improves blood flow and decreases feelings of pain.  

What can YOU do at work to reduce pain and increase productivity?  

  1. Ergonomics: Being aware of your body and workplace set up can help to alleviate discomfort. Keeping correct posture and adjusting the work environment to fit you as much as possible.  
  1. Stretching: Light stretches throughout the workday can decrease fatigue and discomfort at the end of the day.  
  1. Microbreaks: Taking 30-60 seconds every 20 minutes to break up repetitive or static postures.  
  1. Manage stress: Find strategies to decrease stress and strain at work like setting boundaries, deep breathing and developing healthy responses.  
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