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        5 min read

        Virtual MSK Therapy: Life-Changing and Cost-Saving

        Virtual MSK Therapy: Life-Changing and Cost-Saving

        Suffering from a musculoskeletal (MSK) condition can make it feel like you’re on the sidelines in your own life. This pain can take you away from the things you love to do and even make it hard to complete your daily routines and tasks. Needless to say, it can be debilitating. 

        This is a reality that an estimated 126 million (one out of two) Americans deal with each year. For so many, finding a way to reduce chronic discomfort and increase mobility can be frustrating and expensive.

        That’s why HealthJoy set out to create a best-in-class MSK program that gives employees an easy way to get relief from chronic pain in just minutes per day. Our hands-on, world-class coaching is approachable and completely integrated into their HealthJoy experience.

        Now, let’s dig deeper into the issues surrounding MSK conditions and see how HealthJoy’s Virtual MSK Therapy program can help you provide relief and savings to your employees.

        What is an MSK condition?

        MSK conditions are characterized by persistent pain and limitations in mobility, dexterity, and overall level of functioning. The effects of MSK conditions are wide-ranging and can hamper a person’s ability to work, exercise, and participate in their favorite activities.

        Lower back pain, in particular, is the most prevalent MSK condition and the reason for many premature exits out of the workforce. Arthritis which affects 24% of American adults is another costly MSK condition.

        In total, MSK-related conditions account for $213 billion in annual treatment, care, and lost wages. This makes it the third-highest source of claims spend for 85% of employers.

        And these issues don’t just hamper older employees. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the prevalence of MSK conditions does increase with age, but younger people are also affected, often during the prime years of their careers.

        One in two Americans have an MSK condition 

        WHO estimates that over 1.7 billion people have MSK conditions worldwide, with an estimated 126 million Americans affected each year. That’s more than the amount of Americans who watched this year’s Super Bowl. So, the odds are pretty high that many of your employees are dealing with these issues whether you’re aware or not.

        In fact, we recently published in our “HealthJoy Insights: Member Health Goals” report that 35% of members who responded to our onboarding survey expressed interest in managing back or joint pain.

        MSK conditions cost over $213 billion each year

        MSK is the number one cost driver of healthcare spending in the US. More than cardiovascular issues, more than hospitalizations, and the cost is still on the rise. In fact, it’s doubled over the last decade, primarily because the costs of invasive procedures like injections and surgery have doubled. 

        MSK conditions account for over $213 billion in total annual expenses. Lower-back pain, neck pain, and other MSK disorders consistently rank among the most costly categories of care in the US. 

        The impact these conditions have on your business isn’t only felt due to high-cost treatments, but also due to missed work. MSK conditions require 38% more time away from work than the average injury, cutting into workplace productivity and costing your teams valuable productivity time. Back pain alone results in an estimated 83 million missed work days each year.

        Traditional MSK treatment is outdated 

        MSK treatments aren’t only expensive, they’re also time consuming. As a result, many employees may choose not to seek treatment. 

        Physical therapy (PT) is traditionally the best option for treating MSK conditions. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends PT for 95% of people with low back pain, and most PT timelines last between six to eight weeks. Adherence to PT is low — according to the National Library of Medicine, it's only 35% — because it's inconvenient for individuals to fit a PT session into their schedule each week. This prevents many patients from seeing significant results. 

        Some patients choose to fast-track recovery times by taking the surgery route as a “quick fix.” This is an expensive choice for employees and employers alike, and is often unnecessary. Almost 50% of the time the surgery isn’t actually addressing the root of their pain.

        HealthJoy’s innovative approach to MSK Therapy

        HealthJoy's Virtual MSK Therapy includes three key steps, two of which you'll exclusively find in our program. When combined with traditional conditioning exercises, our coach-led approach achieves greater pain relief and improved function.

        Here’s a look at our three-step process

        Step 1: Address the global motor system

        Most traditional rehab approaches involve isolating a part rather than treating a whole. These approaches neglect the global motor system, which is what matters the most for pain, function, and avoiding future injury.

        The HealthJoy Virtual MSK Therapy program focuses on the global motor system, encouraging multiple parts of the body to work together. By doing so, we engage a different system in your brain than therapies that focus on parts of the body working in isolation.

        This brain-first approach is truly global and works for all-star athletes, weekend warriors, and everyone in between.

        Step 2: Conditioning

        For most members, once the brain and the body are reconnected neurologically, we turn our attention to local muscles and joints.

        This phase looks more like what you'd expect out of a traditional approach:

        • Common exercises and stretches
        • 3–5 days per week
        • 15 minutes per day

        Step 3: Address the local motor system

        If members don’t achieve at least 80% improvement after completing the first two steps, we utilize the Cross-Education Effect. This helps create a gain in function of the painful limb by exercising their non-painful side.

        With a typical injury:

        • Your right arm is in a cast
        • You lose strength and function in the right arm.
        • Atrophy will occur

        Now, let's look at an example of how the Cross-Education Effect works.

        Exercising the left arm while the right arm is in a cast reduces the atrophy. Some of the strength gain in the left arm translates to the right arm, even when you aren't exercising your right arm.

        This effect exists because both hemispheres of the brain — and the body — talk to each other. When neurons fire on one side of the brain, they can jumpstart the other side of the brain to improve function.

        So, the Cross-Education Effect is basically nature's cloud backup. When you lose the information for how to move properly on one side of the brain, you still have the other side of the brain as a backup with that information. And just like with your favorite photos, you feel safer when you have a backup.

        85% function improvement, accelerated savings, increased satisfaction

        HealthJoy’s Virtual MSK Therapy is simply a more efficient way to provide MSK care. When paired together with our steerage, it can help guide your employees to high-quality, low-cost care that works for all parties.

        Our participants report 82% pain reduction, by far the highest outcome among competitors. For reference, standard in-person options deliver around 53% improvement. People using our Virtual MSK Therapy brain-based exercises have also seen an average of 85% function improvement and 60% surgery reduction.

        Alongside life-changing results for your employees, you’ll see meaningful cost savings. Our clients see an average of $2,572 claims avoided per participant.

        And our solution is built to enhance buy-in with in-app reminders and 15-minute, hardware-free exercises. The results are a 66% adherence rate (31% higher than average), a 95% member satisfaction score, and an impressive net promoter score (NPS) of 87.

        No matter how you break it down, Virtual MSK Therapy is a great option to treat the top driver of healthcare spending in the US and deliver relief to your employees using a modernized program they’ll love. But don’t just take our word for it, see what a recent program participant has to say below!

        "I had a slip and fall onto concrete three years ago that severely affected my back. When I started this program I could only walk short distances, had very limited standing tolerance, experienced difficulty climbing stairs, and avoided bending or kneeling due to pain. I’m amazed to say that I’m now 100% pain-free and can even walk in heels again! I’ve never experienced anything better for my back pain than this program. I loved the usability of the app and how this program fit perfectly around my busy schedule. It’s wonderful that this program is completely free! My coworkers who are using this program absolutely love it, and I could not recommend it more highly!"

        Learn more about Virtual MSK Therapy today


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