Meet Jeff Vandenlangenberg

As the premiere local business and community health partner of Northeastern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, Bellin Health helps businesses improve the health of their employees while making the cost of care more affordable.

Jeff Vandenlangenberg is employed at AriensCo. His journey to improved health is a direct result of his employer's Total Health partnership with Bellin Health. 

Company: AriensCo
Employee: Jeff Vandenlangenberg
Achievements: Changed careers. Regained use of and feeling in his wrist/fingers. Builds lawn mowers used worldwide.
Life impact: I credit Bellin Health for treating my acute pain, numbness, and tingling through early intervention. My career isn’t slowing down, unless I want to take a slow ride on the mower in my backyard for fun.

Jeff’s story, in his own words.

The Power Zone

After working in an office setting for most of my career, I made an exciting career move to AriensCo, becoming an assembler last year. It is my first job in an industrial setting. I was both absorbed in this new work as well as nervous about how well I could adapt to it.

After my first two weeks on the job, I began to feel numbness, pain, and tingling in my wrist and fingers. It wasn’t going away. I shared my concerns with my new employer, which has an Early Intervention Program, supported by Bellin Health. I was promptly seen by Occupational Therapist Tom Nachtwey, who also specializes in ergonomics and rehabilitation. It’s not only what he did for me, but what he does for everyone in the company, that I want to share.

The onsite Bellin team uses a team-based approach at each of their manufacturing plants, which includes Occupational Therapists Tom, Scott Oleniczak, and Troy Gutzman; Physical Therapist Maddy Albers; and Registered Nurses Amber Franda and Dana Lundin. They all work closely with the Ariens teams, helping them understand how to identify when we need to be seen. The Bellin therapists also conduct ergonomic assessments to identify and prevent work practices that could result in injury. The entire onsite team then also helps connect us with the medical providers at the Bellin Health clinic in Brillion when we need additional attention.

Tom helped me reduce my wrist pain and regain the feeling in my fingers by teaching me to implement early intervention strategies that included ice and heat, contrast baths, stretching specific to my department in Assembly, self-massage, kinesiotape, and the use of a soft wrist brace while at work. Within a few weeks, I noticed drastic improvement.

Because these onsite therapists are ergonomic specialists, they get to know us on the job, stop by to say hello, give us techniques to use on the spot at our work stations, and they care. They check on us. I now keep my wrists straighter while using the torque guns, I use my less dominant hand more often, and I lift those lawn mower tires inside of what’s called “my power zone.”

The real power zone is the atmosphere their partnership creates here at work. Bellin Health, AriensCo, its Supervisors, and its employees have a safe zone to address workplace injuries. That’s a rare success and achievement.

My advice for each of you is to realize your health is your greatest wealth. If you’re not healthy, work and home life can be compromised. Take time to put your health first so you can be your best for others and achieve your dreams.

–  Jeff Vandenlangenberg

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