The family physician is often instrumental in the process of returning a patient to the workplace after injury or illness. Initially, the physician must gain an understanding of the job's demands through detailed discussions with the patient, the patient's work supervisor or the occupational medicine staff at the patient's place of employment. Other helpful sources of information include job demand analysis evaluations and the Dictionary of Occupational Titles. With an adequate knowledge of job requirements and patient limitations, the physician should document specific workplace restrictions, ensuring a safe and progressive reentry to work. Occupational rehabilitation programs such as work hardening may be prescribed, if necessary. If the physician is unsure of the patient's status, a functional capacity evaluation should be considered. The family physician should also be familiar with the Americans with Disabilities Act as it applies to the patient's "fitness" to perform the "essential tasks" of the patient's job. (+info)
One year outcome in mild to moderate head injury: the predictive value of acute injury characteristics related to complaints and return to work.
OBJECTIVES: To determine the prognostic value of characteristics of acute injury and duration of post-traumatic amnesia (PTA) for long term outcome in patients with mild to moderate head injury in terms of complaints and return to work. METHODS: Patients with a Glasgow coma score (GCS) on admission of 9-14 were included. Post-traumatic amnesia was assessed prospectively. Follow up was performed at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months after injury. Outcome was determined by the Glasgow outcome scale (GOS) 1 year after injury and compared with a more detailed outcome scale (DOS) comprising cognitive and neurobehavioural aspects. RESULTS: Sixty seven patients were included, mean age 33.2 (SD 14.7) years and mean PTA 7.8 (SD 7.3) days. One year after injury, 73% of patients had resumed previous work although most (84%) still reported complaints. The most frequent complaints were headache (32%), irritability (34%), forgetfulness and poor concentration (42%), and fatigue (45%). According to the GOS good recovery (82%) or moderate disability (18%) was seen. Application of the DOS showed more cognitive (40%) and behavioural problems (48%), interfering with return to work. Correlation between the GOS and DOS was high (r=0.87, p<0.01). Outcome correlated with duration of PTA (r=-0.46) but not significantly with GCS on admission (r=0.19). In multiple regression analysis, PTA and the number of complaints 3 months after injury explained 49% of variance on outcome as assessed with the GOS, and 60% with the DOS. CONCLUSIONS: In mild to moderate head injury outcome is determined by duration of PTA and not by GCS on admission. Most patients return to work despite having complaints. The application of a more detailed outcome scale will increase accuracy in predicting outcome in this category of patients with head injury. (+info)
Adrenosympathetic overactivity under conditions of work stress.
Serial measurements of urinary adrenaline, noradrenaline, and 11-hydroxycorticosteroid excretion were performed on 32 healthy men under two conditions of work stress; piecework and work on assembly line. A statistically significant increase in adrenaline, noradrenaline, and 11-hydroxycorticosteroids was observed for piecework and assembly line workers compared with salaried and 'ordinary' workers. The results support the assumption that psychosocial factors of an everyday type have significant effects on the sympathoadrenomedullary and adrenocortical function. (+info)
Metabolic cost of generating horizontal forces during human running.
Previous studies have suggested that generating vertical force on the ground to support body weight (BWt) is the major determinant of the metabolic cost of running. Because horizontal forces exerted on the ground are often an order of magnitude smaller than vertical forces, some have reasoned that they have negligible cost. Using applied horizontal forces (AHF; negative is impeding, positive is aiding) equal to -6, -3, 0, +3, +6, +9, +12, and +15% of BWt, we estimated the cost of generating horizontal forces while subjects were running at 3.3 m/s. We measured rates of oxygen consumption (VO2) for eight subjects. We then used a force-measuring treadmill to measure ground reaction forces from another eight subjects. With an AHF of -6% BWt, VO2 increased 30% compared with normal running, presumably because of the extra work involved. With an AHF of +15% BWt, the subjects exerted approximately 70% less propulsive impulse and exhibited a 33% reduction in VO2. Our data suggest that generating horizontal propulsive forces constitutes more than one-third of the total metabolic cost of normal running. (+info)
Prognostic criteria for work resumption after standard lumbar discectomy.
The purpose of this study was to determine prognostic criteria for return to work 9-12 years after standard nucleotomy for herniated nucleus pulposus confirmed by CT. From 1985 until 1988, 182 patients (102 male, 80 female, mean age 45 years) with a single-level herniated nucleus pulposus were operated on for the first time. In summer 1997, an average of 10.2 years after the operation, 101 of 182 patients (55.5%) returned a standardised questionnaire. Eighteen patients (9.8%) had died during the intervening years, while 63 patients (34.6%) were lost to follow-up because of moving to other cities. Two groups could then be distinguished: group I worked full time in their usual job; group II did not. The influence of the degree of the paresis, time elapsed since the occurrence, intraoperative findings, age, sex, weight, type of work and re-operations were analysed statistically. Group I consisted of 44 patients who still worked full time in their usual job. Group II contained 57 patients, of whom 18 worked only part of the time, 9 had changed to a lighter full-time job, 23 had taken early retirement, and 7 were receiving a pension. Patients in group I were significantly younger (38 vs. 51 years), had a smaller proportion of patients with more than 20% overweight (27% vs. 44%), had a smaller proportion of severe, grade 0 and 1, motor dysfunction (0% vs. 16.3%), had been operated sooner (within 3 days: 52.3% vs. 19.3%), had undergone fewer re-operations for recurrence of the herniation (4.5% vs. 21.1%), and had worked less frequently in physically demanding jobs (6.7% vs. 22.8%). We concluded that when there is a relative indication for herniated nucleus pulposus surgery, it should be limited to patients aged below 40 years, with slight motor dysfunction, who work in physically undemanding jobs, so as to make a satisfactory long-term result more likely. (+info)
Development of a stroke-specific quality of life scale.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Clinical stroke trials are increasingly measuring patient-centered outcomes such as functional status and health-related quality of life (HRQOL). No stroke-specific HRQOL measure is currently available. This study presents the initial development of a valid, reliable, and responsive stroke-specific quality of life (SS-QOL) measure, for use in stroke trials. METHODS: Domains and items for the SS-QOL were developed from patient interviews. The SS-QOL, Short Form 36, Beck Depression Inventory, National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale, and Barthel Index were administered to patients 1 and 3 months after ischemic stroke. Items were eliminated with the use of standard psychometric criteria. Construct validity was assessed by comparing domain scores with similar domains of established measures. Domain responsiveness was assessed with standardized effect sizes. RESULTS: All 12 domains of the SS-QOL were unidimensional. In the final 49-item scale, all domains demonstrated excellent internal reliability (Cronbach's alpha values for each domain >/=0.73). Most domains were moderately correlated with similar domains of established outcome measures (r2 range, 0.3 to 0.5). Most domains were responsive to change (standardized effect sizes >0.4). One- and 3-month SS-QOL scores were associated with patients' self-report of HRQOL compared with before their stroke (P<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: The SS-QOL measures HRQOL, its primary underlying construct, in stroke patients. Preliminary results regarding the reliability, validity, and responsiveness of the SS-QOL are encouraging. Further studies in diverse stroke populations are needed. (+info)
Effects of velocity on upper to lower extremity muscular work and power output ratios of intercollegiate athletes.
OBJECTIVES: Peak torque expresses a point output which may, but does not always, correlate well with full range output measures such as work or power, particularly in a rehabilitating muscle. This study evaluates isokinetic performance variables, particularly (a) flexor to extensor work and power output ratios of upper and lower extremities and (b) overall upper to lower extremity work and power ratios, in intercollegiate athletes. The purpose was to ascertain how speeds of 30 and 180 degrees/s influence agonist to antagonist ratios for torque, work, and power and to determine the effects of these speeds on upper to lower limb flexor (F), extensor (E), and combined (F + E) ratios, as a guide to rehabilitation protocols and outcomes after injury. METHODS: Twenty seven athletic men without upper or lower extremity clinical histories were tested isokinetically at slow and moderately fast speeds likely to be encountered in early stages of rehabilitation after injury. Seated knee extensor and flexor outputs, particularly work and power, were investigated, as were full range elbow extensor and flexor outputs. The subjects were morphologically similar in linearity and muscularity (coefficient of variation 4.17%) so that standardisation of isokinetic outputs to body mass effectively normalised for strength differences due to body size. Peak torque (N.m/kg), total work (J/kg), and average power (W/kg) for elbow and knee flexions and extensions were measured on a Cybex 6000 isokinetic dynamometer. With respect to the raw data, the four test conditions (F at 30 degrees/s; E at 30 degrees/s; F at 180 degrees/s; E at 180 degrees/s) were analysed by one way analysis of variance. Reciprocal (agonist to antagonist) F to E ratios of the upper and lower extremities were calculated, as were upper to lower extremity flexor, extensor, and combined (F + E) ratios. Speed related differences between the derived ratios were analysed by Student's t tests (related samples). RESULTS: At the speeds tested all torque responses exhibited velocity related decrements at rates that kept flexor to extensor ratios and upper to lower extremity ratios constant (p > 0.05) for work and power. All upper extremity relative torque, work, and power flexion responses were equal to extension responses (p > 0.05) regardless of speed. Conversely, all lower extremity relative measures of torque, work, and power of flexors were significantly lower than extensor responses. In the case of both upper and lower extremities, work and power F to E ratios were unaffected by speed. Moreover, increasing speed from 30 to 180 degrees/s had no effect on upper to lower extremity work and power ratios, whether for flexion, extension, or flexion and extension combined. CONCLUSIONS: Peak torque responses may not adequately reflect tension development through an extensive range of motion. Total work produced and mean power generated, on the other hand, are highly relevant measures of performance, and these, expressed as F to E ratios, are unaffected by speeds of 30 and 180 degrees/s, whether for upper or lower extremities or for upper to lower extremities. In this sample, regardless of speed, the upper extremity produced 55% of the work and 39% of the power of the lower extremity, when flexor and extensor outputs were combined. Injured athletes are, in the early stages of function restoration, often not able to exert tension at fast speeds. An understanding of upper to lower extremity muscular work and power ratios has important implications for muscle strengthening after injury. Knowledge of normal upper to lower extremity work and power output ratios at slow to moderately fast isokinetic speeds is particularly useful in cases of bilateral upper (or lower) extremity rehabilitation, when the performance of a contralateral limb cannot be used as a yardstick. (+info)
Smoking, heavy physical work and low back pain: a four-year prospective study.
Data from a community-based four-year prospective study were used to test the hypothesis that heavy physical work is a stronger predictor of low back pain in smokers than in non-smokers. Of 708 working responders without low back pain during the entire year prior to 1990, 562 (79%) completed a questionnaire four years later in 1994. A job involving heavy lifting and much standing in 1990 was a strong predictor of low back pain in smokers four years later [odds ratio (OR) = 5.53, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.93-15.84, p < 0.01) after having adjusted for other job characteristics, demographic factors, emotional symptoms, physical exercise and musculoskeletal pain elsewhere. In non-smokers, having a job with heavy lifting and much standing was not associated with low back pain. One explanation may be that smoking leads to reduced perfusion and malnutrition of tissues in or around the spine and causes these tissues to respond inefficiently to mechanical stress. (+info)