Injury Management for Industries



Construction Industry


Paul was in his late 40’s and had been working in the construction industry for over 20 years. Paul noticed tightness in his lower back after bending over to pick a hammer up from the ground. His pain increased over the next few days and he was later diagnosed with lumbar spine degenerative disc disease and was certified totally incapacitated from working for 3 months. Paul’s claim for compensation was accepted as an aggravation of a pre-existing degenerative condition and he was referred to Core by his spinal specialist for conservative rehabilitation and management, as surgery was not an appropriate treatment option. Paul presented with significant pain and discomfort at the time of the Initial Physiotherapy Assessment and was guarded about his prognosis. He did not believe that anything could be done to improve his condition. Paul agreed to participate in a Graded Rehabilitation Program with Core, and commenced onsite clinical treatment as well as a structured and progressive home exercise program. Paul’s function continued to improve and he moved on to a progressive functional restoration program starting with hydrotherapy, progressing to a lift and load gym program to prepare him to return to work.

Unfortunately Paul’s employer lost an important contract and he was made redundant. However, luckily for Paul, his Worker’s Compensation insurer referred him to Core for Transferable Skills Assessment and assistance with Job Preparation and Job Seeking. Through a structured and integrated assessment process, it was identified that Paul had an interest in computers and was familiar with the use of Microsoft Office software. Paul’s spinal specialist was contacted and he was subsequently certified fit to perform suitable duties with a Host Employer. Using Core’s network of local businesses and employers, an appropriate Host Employer was identified for Paul and he was placed in an administrative based data collection role with a local Private Hospital the same week. Paul’s pain and function continued to improve with his ongoing participation on his functional rehabilitation program, allowing him to upgrade his postural and seated tolerances and Paul was subsequently offered and accepted a permanent role with the Private Hospital as an Admissions Clerk.
Agricultural Industry


Shane had been working as a Sugar Cane Farmer for the last 14 years and had sustained two previous lower back injuries during this time. Shane was initially referred to Core Healthcare Group for a pre-operative back strengthening program by his spinal specialist following a four month period of unresolved lumbar spine pain. Unfortunately, the initial prognosis for Shane did not look good. His treating specialist indicated that he was a definite surgical candidate, advising Shane that he would never be able to return to his pre-injury employment as a Cane Farmer. Following the Initial Physiotherapy Assessment, Core identified that Shane’s previous treatment had primarily consisted of a passive approach with hands-on treatment and had failed to provide much in the way of self management or rehabilitation tools. His treatment was focused on alleviating his pain rather than addressing his lumbar spine functional restoration. As a result, Shane was convinced that surgery was his only option.

Within two weeks of attending Core and commencing his pre-operative Back Strengthening Program, Shane had overcome his reluctance to actively participate in his rehabilitation, and his strong belief around his need for surgery had significantly changed. Shane’s Case Manager asked Core to communicate with his treating specialist and seek approval for Shane to commence a graduated Return to Work Program with his pre-injury employer. Within six weeks of beginning his pre-operative back strengthening program, Shane had returned to his specialist and cancelled his surgery as he was thrilled at being able to return to work with his pre-injury employer of 14 years. Shane continued his journey with Core and progressed with his functional rehabilitation, injury education and spinal strengthening.

As part of the process, a Worksite Assessment was arranged to assess Shane’s capacity to safely perform his pre-injury duties. Instruction was provided to Shane around how to work safely within the workplace, which required modification of some tasks and restriction of others. Most importantly, Shane was taught how to transfer the functional strengthening and spinal stabilisation techniques from the rehabilitation setting into the work environment successfully.
Manufacturing Industry


Whilst employed as a Machine Operator for a manufacturing company, Craig developed worsening right elbow pain arising from repetitively loading and unloading of 300 fifteen kilogram rolls of roofing insulation per day. Craig was initially diagnosed with medial epicondylitis “golfer’s elbow” and underwent a short period of conservative treatment before being referred to an upper limb surgeon. Craig underwent a series of investigations, which revealed that he was suffering from ulnar neuropathy requiring ulnar release surgery.

Approximately four weeks after his surgery, Craig was referred to Core Healthcare Group by his general practitioner for ongoing management of his injury. Craig continued to experience high levels of pain within his right elbow around the surgical site. Craig was provided with a closely monitored home exercise program and within a short period his pain subsided and he was cleared to return to work on suitable duties. Unfortunately for Craig, he was thrown back into the deep-end at work as his employer had just won a new contract and Craig jumped straight back into his machine operator roll. This resulted in an immediate flare-up of his symptoms including; reduction in grip strength; pain reproduction with any movement; loss of sensation and circulation into the fifth finger.

One of Core’s Injury Management Advisors reviewed Craig’s case and contacted his Case Manager to seek approval for a worksite assessment. A task analysis and review of Craig’s pre-injury duties revealed significant repetitive loading and unloading in awkward positions. With the assistance of his employer, simple modifications to the work flow process ensued and small changes to Craig’s work station allowed for improved shoulder, elbow and wrist mechanics during the loading and unloading process. Core developed a graduated return to work program for Craig, which included those tasks identified as appropriate and restricted tasks assessed as being temporarily unsuitable. Craig’s symptoms quickly resolved and he was progressed to a gym based Industrial Strength Recovery Program, allowing the continued development of his physical and functional capabilities in a closely monitored and controlled environment.
Transport Industry


John had been employed as a bulk freight driver for a large multi-national logistics company for 12 years when he injured his right shoulder whilst delivering a 40kg treadmill. John’s employer referred him to Core for conservative treatment and management of his work related injury. Core’s initial assessment revealed significant shoulder instability and suspected internal muscular tears and was rapidly directed for further investigation and orthopaedic review. John progressed to surgery after an MRI revealed large partial thickness tears to the bicep and supraspinatus tendon. John recommenced conservative rehabilitation with Core following surgery and soon returned back to work on full hours operating a forklift and moving small cartons up to 5kg, under the guidance of his treating clinician.

John continued to make good functional gains with regular attendance and participation on his Progressive Functional Rehabilitation Program. At 12 weeks post-surgery Core undertook a comprehensive Worksite Assessment to evaluate John’s physical and functional capacities against the critical physical demands of his role and to ascertain realistic recovery timeframes. John’s eagerness to return back to truck driving duties and his inability to do so required ongoing management and John was referred for three sessions of Adjustment to Injury Counselling, which were implemented concurrently, along-side his functional rehabilitation and his graduated return to work plan.

John was encouraged to be actively involved in setting his own short term rehabilitation and return to work goals for his return to work plan, which was approved by all of his treating medical providers. John’s employer was contacted by Core and encouraged to provide John with the opportunity to progressively increase his exposure to his normal driving duties by buddying up with another driver and performing individual components of his pre-injury role. John’s confidence quickly returned and his functional rehabilitation program was focused to help him build the strength needed to safely pull and lower himself from the truck. John has made a full recovery and is able to perform all aspects of his pre-injury role as a bulk delivery driver.
Freight Industry


Susan injured her lower back whilst employed as a freight handler for a large national transport and logistics company. Her role as a freight handler required her to maintain her spine in a stooped position for sustained periods, whilst twisting to lift and load loose pieces of freight weighing 15kg. Susan was certified totally incapacitated by her general practitioner after investigations revealed multilevel disc protrusion with underlying spondylolisthesis, and she was immediately referred to Core by her employer. Susan continued with her normal gymnasium based exercise program and found her symptoms were compounding. To assist her with recovery, Susan was referred into Core Healthcare Group’s Pain Management Program.

Susan initially struggled with her increased pain and loss of function as she had previously been fit, healthy and active and had a difficult time accepting her injury and physical limitations. Upon completion of the Pain Management Program, Susan was paired with an experienced clinician who was able to assist her to understand her functional limitations and worked with her to set realistic time focused measureable rehabilitation goals. Susan agreed to make the required changes to her exercise program and committed to adhering to the restrictions and, as a result, she progressed quickly through her initial hydrotherapy program as she quickly learnt how to activate her core stabilisation muscles, which provided her with relief from her symptoms. As her postural tolerance increased, a worksite assessment was organised with her employer and a return to work plan was sent through to her general practitioner for review. Susan’s certification was upgraded allowing her to return to work, performing suitable duties sorting mail satchels.

Susan’s function continued to increase rapidly as a result of her strict adherence to her functional rehabilitation program as it progressed from the pool to the gym, and as a result, her return to work plan was upgraded accordingly over a period of 12 weeks. At the completion of her combined functional rehabilitation and return to work program, Susan was able to return back to her normal role within four months from the date of her injury, without the need for specialist review or intervention.
Retail Industry


Jenny is a Regional Manager for a national clothing retailer who injured her neck over a period of time through the normal course of her employment. Jenny was initially certified fit for suitable duties but her condition and symptoms of headaches, neck, shoulder and arm pain gradually worsened over time. Subsequently, she was certified as totally incapacitated by her general practitioner and remained off work for three months until she was referred for specialist opinion. Jenny underwent MRI investigations, which revealed that she had developed mild degenerative disc disease with some loss of lordosis. Jenny’s spinal specialist suspected a Peripheral Nerve Entrapment Syndrome as a result of musculoligamentous strain to the cervical spine and she was referred to Core Healthcare Group for commencement onto Core’s Pain Management and Occupational Rehabilitation Program by her treating spinal specialist.

Following approval from her Case Manager, Jenny completed Core’s five day Pain Management and Occupational Rehabilitation Program with great success. As a result, a Workplace Assessment took place, and a graduated return to work plan developed. With the plan approved by her spinal specialist and a new medical certificate provided, Jenny returned to work performing suitable duties with reduced hours.

Results of the Ergonomic Workstation Assessment revealed that Jenny required modification to her workstation. Jenny’s employer implemented a suitable alternative which allowed her to maintain safe sitting and standing positions throughout the duration of her shifts. With a new gym program to encourage cervical spine strength and control along with postural re-education, Jenny progressed to a Clinical Pilates program. As a result, Jenny’s physical and functional capabilities continued to improve over the following eight weeks, to the point where she was able to return to work full time, conducting normal duties, without any ongoing neck, shoulder or arm symptoms.