Back Pain Treatments

Pre-Work Screenings and Low Back Injuries

This study set out to assess if pre-work screening methods with hospital employees reduced the low back injury rate, lost workdays, and medical costs. The screening was intended to match an employee's physical capabilities with the physical demands of a job. The screening consisted of assessing posture, flexibility, strength, and range of motion. Additionally, the session included instruction on lifting techniques and body mechanics.

Over 10 1/2 years, 1457 pre-work screening were performed. In that time 177 back sprains and strains occurred. When comparing the rate of back injuries between the screened and unscreened personnel, no significant differences occurred. But, the amount of lost work days and medical costs decreased significantly among the screened employees:

"These findings suggest that though the rate of back sprain or strain injuries do not decrease, the severity of those injuries do decrease significantly over time. Also, the use of the prework functional screen offers the employer the highest degree of protection against rising lost work days and incurred medical costs that occur as the result of back sprain or strain injuries."

�The authors conclude that preventive measures and pre-work screenings will aid an employer in reducing its various costs and help identify the individuals who are not able to perform the physical demands of the job they are being hired for.

Nassau D. The effects of prework functional screening on lowering an employer's injury rate, medical costs and lost work days. Spine 1999;24(3): 269-274.