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Work-related injuries can be especially tough to work through. There’s often an emotional component that isn’t present with sports or other types of injuries. Patients may feel isolated from co-workers, frustrated at having to sit out and embarrassed because they were hurt on the job, even if they are in no way responsible. At Countryside Orthopaedics, the goal is to get patients healthy and back on the job, restoring their sense of purpose and giving them tools to complete their jobs safely and avoid re-injury.
What Are Some Common Work-Related Injuries
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some of the most common work-related injuries are sprains, strains or tears, and fractures along with cuts, lacerations and puncture wounds. Injuries related to slips and falls and vehicle accidents are prevalent, as are repetitive motion issues, including carpal tunnel syndrome and shoulder injuries.
But you may be surprised to learn that low back pain is actually the most common workplace disability in the world, according to a 2014 study by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Low back pain can be caused by heavy lifting, pushing, or pulling, but it can occur in people with desk jobs. If you sit all day and don’t have sufficient back support, you may be a candidate for a low back injury. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, shoulder and knee injuries follow back pain as the most common sites for work-related injuries.
How Can Physical Therapy Treat Work-Related Injuries?
On a certain level, your physical therapist treats work-related injuries in the same way as other injuries–through strengthening and range of motion exercises along with manual manipulation of the injured area. However, in treating work-related injuries, there’s an additional layer of goal-setting and education that helps motivate patients to recover and get back to work. It also gives them the tools they need to go back to work feeling safer, stronger, more confident and prepared to avoid getting hurt again.
The recovery plan you’ll develop with your physical therapist includes a work re-entry plan that will help you focus on regaining strength and mobility while learning how to complete work tasks safely. We’ll educate you on body mechanics and ergonomics and help you learn to work safer–whether your job involves heavy lifting or sitting at a computer.
How Long Does It Take To Recover From a Work-Related Injury?
According to the AAFP, getting back to work more quickly actually improves outcomes in the case of work-related injuries. It’s important to make returning to work a goal for the sake of a patient’s mental health and self-esteem. That’s why a treatment program supervised by a trained physical therapist is key and so often prescribed by doctors in the case of work-related injuries. Your physical therapist is an important partner in goal-setting, overcoming hurdles (both physical and mental) and educating you on steps to improve workplace safety once you return to work.
Physical therapy can help with pain management, reducing the use of opioids and helping speed up recovery and get patients back to work more quickly. Physical therapists are also trained to work with patients, doctors and employers to clarify what the patient is able to do on their return to work, along with any temporary restrictions or more permanent limitations.
How Does Workers’ Compensation Work?
Workers’ compensation offers wage replacement and medical benefits for workers injured on the job. Laws vary by state, but Virginia law requires almost all employers to provide workers’ compensation. Not every work-related injury involves a workers’ compensation claim. To file a claim, the accident must happen while you’re on the job, and you must report your injury to your employer within 30 days. You are also required to file a claim with the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission.
In Virginia, physical therapy determined to be medically necessary is covered under the workers’ compensation program. And doctors often prescribe physical therapy for work-related injuries for some of the very important reasons listed above.
At Countryside Orthopaedics, our administrative staff is experienced in helping patients file workers’ compensation claims, and the first step is filling out the workers’ compensation form at our website. We simply ask that you get things rolling by confirming approval with your company’s workers’ compensation carrier before scheduling your appointment. Our workers’ comp form can be found here: https://www.countrysideortho.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/workers_comp.pdf
Work-Related Injuries at Countryside Orthopaedics
At Countryside Orthopaedics, both our trained physical therapists and administrative professionals have a wealth of experience in dealing with work-related injuries. While our therapists work with you to heal your injuries, they are also there to support you with goal-setting and a safe and healthy return-to-work plan. Our practice also works with you to minimize the administrative headaches involved with filing claims and make sure that you get the support you need on every level to return to a healthy and productive work life.