How is work rehab different from work conditioning?

Work conditioning differs from Work Rehab in three ways:

  • Work Conditioning includes Physical & Occupational Therapy. Work Rehab is PT only.
  • Work Conditioning is more intensive, including longer and more frequent therapy visits. The intensity of the work insures both muscular and cardiovascular endurance are addressed.
  • Work Conditioning can be more expensive secondary to the multi-disciplinary intervention and the longer and more frequent visits.


Work conditioning is an intensive rehabilitation approach designed to accelerate a patient’s return to work. It is best suited for injured workers trying to return to more physically demanding jobs. Programs are customized to optimally prepare an injured worker for the specific physical demands of a particular job. Most workers are treated one to two hours per day, three to five times a week, for two to four weeks. Job simulation activities are emphasized.

Work conditioning includes both physical and/or occupational therapists. Besides strengthening and conditioning of the musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems, the worker is educated in proper body mechanics, ergonomics, and task-specific strategies to incorporate at work and at home.

Who is a Candidate for Work Conditioning?

Any patient who is unable to return to full-duty secondary to pain and/or functional limitations can benefit from a work conditioning program. Work conditioning may be initiated in the early stages of rehabilitation or after more traditional intervention fails to adequately prepare the patient for a successful return to the job.

Benefits for the Injured Worker:

  • Promotes a positive relationship with the employer as the worker takes an active role in the return to work process.
  • Accelerates the physical recovery, diminishing the potential for chronic disability.
  • Encourages worker responsibility for his/her own recovery.
  • Limits the financial loss associated with the inability to work.

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