Quincy Spine Center understands the concerns of the injured employee, as well as the impact on the employer who wants the injured worker back on the job.
When an employee has a on-the-job back or neck injury, it is crucial to visit a spine specialist first because work-related injury requires that you compress the treatment process. While watchful waiting can be used for recreational injury, a work-related back or neck injury requires that you move quickly to determine the cause of your pain and develop a treatment plan designed to systematically try various treatment options. In a sense the clock is ticking with on-the-job back or neck injury because the employer needs to know how long the worker will need to be off work to recover. The employer may need to move staff into the injured worker’s position temporarily so workflow doesn’t become backlogged.
Also, the spine specialist can advise the manager at the workplace what activities the injured worker may be able to perform on a light duty or part time basis during recovery. This is the ideal situation where you maintain your position in your company while you recover.
After the injury, the spine specialist may recommend diagnostic tests like X-ray to determine if there is a fracture of the vertebrae, as in the case of a slip or fall, or other trauma. Pain radiating into an arm or leg may imply a disc problem and an MRI may be needed to determine the extent of the disc problem. The worker, the employer, the work comp insurance company involved and any case manager involved will want to know:
- the extent of the injury;
- the length of time required for treatment and recovery
- if the worker is able to do any light duty activities during recovery
- if surgery may be required to resolve the problem
From the injured worker’s perspective, an on-the-job injury can be unsettling. He or she may receive contradictory advice from a variety of people, including personal attorneys, supervisors, surgeons or case managers.
A personal injury attorney may recommend things that are beneficial to the personal injury attorney more than they benefit the long term interests of the injured employee. A surgeon may likewise recommend a spine surgery because they will be compensated by the work comp insurance company. An employer may be eager for the worker to return to work, perhaps prematurely.
Quincy Spine Center believes the best thing for the injured worker is to receive prompt treatment, and to exhaust all non-surgical options first, from spinal injections to spine therapy. If spine surgery is necessary, you will have the comfort of knowing you have received that recommendation from a physical medicine specialist who has no financial incentive to provide you that diagnosis.
We also believe the injured worker is best served by trying to maintain good relations with their employer who typically has the best interests at heart in making sure the injured worker receives the best spine care for their problem so he or she can return to work. This can include prompt communication to the employer so it can keep your position open for the worker.
If you have an on-the-job back or neck injury and would like an appointment with an unbiased spine specialist at Quincy Spine Center, call 617-773-6300.
Dr. Richard Mazzaferro
Board-certified Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Dr. Richard Mazzaferro is a board-certified specialist in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation with more than 10 years experience in spine. Dr. Mazzaferro is proficient in the use of lumbar and cervical interventional pain procedures. In 2002, he finished his residency training at the Harvard Medical School’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He is the founder of Quincy Spine Center.
Pain is not a good indicator of when to see a doctor for a spine problem. While a back spasm can be excruciating, the good news is that ligament strain doesn’t require surgery.
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