Treat Injured Workers Like Pro Athletes: Michelle Despres Presents the Role of PT at NWCDC

1 year ago

Treat Injured Workers Like Pro Athletes: Michelle Despres Presents the Role of PT at NWCDC

While this year’s National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference (NWCDC) has come to an end, it doesn’t mean you missed out on the thought-provoking discussions. Check out Going for Gold: From Injured Worker to Star Performer, presented by One Call’s very own Michelle Despres and Dr. Marcos Iglesias, chief medical director and vice president at Travelers, to discover the role physical therapy (PT) can have on the recovery process for an injured worker. They compare the treatment plans of professional athletes to those of injured workers, emphasizing the need to focus on returning to function instead of simply addressing pain. Throughout this one-hour session, the presenters showcase how PT can be used to treat injuries, accelerate the recovery process, and reduce the need for opioids to manage pain. 

Their presentation began by sharing the incredible story of Olympian Mary Lou Retton. Six weeks prior to the 1984 Olympic Games, Mary Lou suffered an injury that required surgery. Immediately following the procedure, she began a PT regimen that allowed her to not only compete in the Olympics, but to perform at a level which resulted in a gold medal.

Watch the complete presentation to discover how PT can impact the recovery process.    

Going for the Gold: From Injured Worker to Star Performer
Presented by: Michelle Despres and Dr. Marcos Iglesias

Key Presentation Takeaways:

Recovery time is reduced when PT is introduced early

  • By starting PT early in the recovery process, pain signals are interrupted, and movement is improved - resulting in 87% less opioid prescriptions, 28% less diagnostic imaging, and 15% fewer ER visits.

Chronic pain can be managed with safe alternatives

  • There are a variety of non-prescription drug alternatives to address chronic pain, including: PT, acupuncture, chiropractic care, massage therapy, behavioral approaches and education.
  • PT treats pain through movement, whereas opioids only mask the pain. Side effects from opioids include depression, overdose, addiction and withdrawal. Whereas side effects from PT include decreased pain, increased mobility and independence.

Outcomes are improved with a biopsychosocial approach to care

  • Understanding the injured workers' physical, emotional and mental wellbeing results in better overall recovery outcomes.


Thank you NWCDC for hosting this engaging industry conference. Click here to view all conference sessions on-demand.

Learn more about One Call’s PT Program and early engagement approach.

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