Low Back Pain is Leading Cause of Occupational Disability

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, low back pain accounts for one-third of all occupational musculoskeletal injuries and illnesses resulting in work disability. A recent article in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine’s December 2015 edition states that two thirds of people suffering from low back pain work injuries return to work within one month, but a substantial number — 17% — are out for one to six months, and 7% are out for six months or longer. The article goes on to examine the length of disability and medical costs with regard to various states’ workers’ compensation policies.

While the study may have some interest for those concerned with various states’ laws on medical provider choice, it has less to offer readers most interested in treatment of low back pain with length of work disability or medical costs.

Most injured workers want to know what will “fix” them, and how quickly they can be pain-free and return to normal work and activities of daily living. While injured workers in Nevada can ask for a change of doctor within the first 90 days of their claim under NRS 616C.090, most are unaware of this right and continue treating at the clinic required by their employer for a work-related injury.

Unfortunately, many of the clinic physicians who treat any low back claims throughout the day take very little time to explain the anatomy of the back and what treatment options are ordinarily available depending on the severity of the symptoms and how long the symptoms persist. A lumbar spine strain, or strain from overexertion on the job or trauma, can cause an excruciating spasm, during which the injured worker can barely move. If the initial treating physician spends less than a minute with the patient and doesn’t acknowledge the pain, the patient has no confidence in the diagnosis or in a treatment plan that takes them off work for only three days before they are required to return to the clinic. (Workers’ comp clinic doctors know that if an injured worker is off work for five days in a row or within a 20-day time period, they are entitled to workers’ compensation lost-time benefits.)

Anti-inflammatories, medication for muscle spasms and six visits of physical therapy may be a totally appropriate treatment plan from the clinic doctor. However, if the attitude of the prescribing doctor is not caring, the healing process can be affected by the patient’s feeling that the doctor is more concerned with cost containment on the claim than adequate treatment. It is bad enough experiencing low back pain that prevents someone from working, but to be treated disrespectfully by a doctor who questions your motivation to return to work adds insult to injury.

Chronic low back pain can be difficult to treat, with no magic fix. Treatment usually consists of medication, physical therapy, epidural injections when indicated and back surgery when supported by abnormal findings that are consistent with an abnormal clinical exam. If an injured worker is not a surgical candidate, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t significant chronic pain or disability. Having a caring doctor who takes the time to provide a detailed analysis of your injury and an individual treatment plan can make a tremendous difference.

If you or someone you know has suffered an injury in the workplace Dr. Asim Ashique can certainly help. The Workers Compensation Board Of Manitoba FULLY covers chiropractic treatments when they are deemed necessary. Call 204-943-7200: It’s Central Chiropractic Centre! Winnipeg’s most convenient and reputable chiropractic centre in Winnipeg! With over 18 years of experience treating patients with work related injuries, Dr. Ashique is more than capable of doing the same for you!