There are some careers where the likelihood of experiencing a work injury is higher than others. But in reality, a work injury can happen in any job. From physically demanding jobs such as those in the construction field to traditional office type careers, knowing how to get the care needed to return to work pain-free is essential.
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that protects workers should they have an on the job injury. Every pain and injury is unique. Therefore, you must file a claim with your employer in the event of an injury so you can begin to receive work injury rehabilitation. Your doctor will provide recommendations for helping you restore function so you can return to work quickly and safely. Physical therapy is often a part of a worker’s treatment plan.
The Impact of Delaying Care on Outcomes
A recent study found that starting physical therapy within the first two weeks of experiencing an injury resulted in a faster recovery and shorter medical costs. It was also found that people who delayed physical therapy longer than thirty days were 46 percent more likely to receive opioid prescriptions, 47 percent more likely to receive an MRI, and 29 percent more likely to receive pain management injections. The study looked specifically at low back pain as this is one of the most common worker-related injuries. Workers who wait are 89 percent more likely to have low back surgery than those who didn’t postpone treatment.
Non Compliance is a Factor
It is clear that acting quickly and finding the right physical therapy team is imperative to feeling better and getting back to work. But sometimes, people put off treatment or comply with the recommended treatment plan. One can only speculate the reasoning for this. One belief is that patients who don’t connect with their medical team are less inclined to comply with their recommendations. At Step & Spine Physical Therapy, we like to use a team approach to care. Often, patients are treated by two physical therapists to provide a more comprehensive work injury rehabilitation program.
Connection with your physical therapist and other health care team members is critical. But it is a two-way street. To succeed, patients need to be an advocate for their care. Asking questions is an essential part of having a better understanding. Healthcare professionals want their patients to ask questions and be a part of their treatment planning.
If you or someone you know has experienced a work injury, don’t delay treatment. Get the ball rolling and advocate for your livelihood. We are here for you when you need us.