Doctors' Choice Physical Medicine

Are You A Schuylkill Resident With A Back Pain Work Injury?

Pottsville, Schuylkill PA:  Do you have back pain work injury?  I often hear comments like these from Schuylkill residents with a work injury causing low back pain.

“I can’t believe how much my low back hurts!  I don’t know if I can go to work with it like this!”  Should I go to work?  What happens if I go to work and the pain gets worse?

Does this sound familiar?  Have you ever missed work because of low back pain work injury?  Well, if you have, you’re certainly not alone!  In fact, over 80% of the general population seeks some type of health care help at some point in life because of low back pain and many of those lose work time.  Lost work time is often associated with not being able to tolerate certain positions such as prolonged sitting, standing, bending, twisting, reaching, or combinations of these.  Sometimes, just getting to work is next to impossible as the car ride alone may intolerable!  There is nothing more depressing than not being able to move due to the sharp knife-like feeling in the back every time you try to change positions.

Long-Term Back Pain Work Injury Problems

However, it’s one thing to lose a day or two or even a week of work but what about if you can’t work for longer time periods, like several weeks or even months?  This can become life altering as avoidance of moving for fear of that knife-like sensation in the back can quickly lead to muscle weakening, weight gain, lethargy, depression, and a host of other negative residuals.  Many patients feel victimized by their back pain work injury.

Depression and fear-avoidance behavior are complicating factors to recovery.  Muscle weakening of the low back stabilizing muscles, is also a complicating factor to recovery and must be addressed.  We have the only machine in the area that can measure and document this muscle weakness for your back pain work injury workers’ compensation case.

Back Pain Work Injury “Yellow Flags”

Many articles have been published in the past that tried to identify ways to determine shortly after the back injury, who might be at greatest risk of not improving or becoming disabled.  The term, “yellow flags” has been used to describe such factors and some success in identifying those prone to becoming disabled has been reported.  In May 2009, another attempt to identify injured workers who were at risk for becoming disabled or, not being able to return to work for at least 3 months was published.  Of the 346 injured workers that were followed for 6 months after the “off work” period began, 47% failed to return to work from their back pain work injury.

There were five questions found to adequately screen those who were not able to return to work or were at greatest risk of becoming disabled.  The 5 questions included:

1. Do you expect to return to work within 6 months?
2. How much does the pain interfere in your daily activities?
3. Do you believe it is not advisable to be physically active?
4. Do you feel generally nervous?
5. Do you feel generally scared?

Best Treatment For Back Pain Work Injury

The good news is that in scientific studies chiropractic treatment has been repeatedly found superior to manage acute back pain.  The care was found to be quicker and better than any other form of health care.  This is reflected by the highest percentage of consumers seek chiropractic treatment over any other form of alternative health care for back pain relief according to the May, 2009 issue of Consumer Reports.

But not every case is simple.  Some back pain work injury cases result in permanent injury and disability.  In these types of workers’ compensation cases the injured worker usually has to prove to the workers’ compensation insurance company or the Workers’ Compensation Judge that the injury is permanent and stationary injury resulting in long-term disability.  In this situation, we use an innovative muscle activity test.  It is a dynamic electromyogram (EMG).  There are no needles used like in a typical EMG.  It works similar to an EKG test for your heart, except we use it on your back muscles.  This test is invaluable to objectively measure and document abnormal muscle movements for your workers’ compensation case and may be indispensable.  We are the only facility in the area that provides this type of testing.

We strive to provide the highest quality care and follow evidence and “best practice” approaches at our clinic and look forward to helping our patients through difficult times like this.

Want More?

Go to the “Contact Us” tab of our website at the link below and fill out your e-mail address and your name.  In the message box, request the “Workers’ Compensation” Report”.  It provides sections of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Law that you may find helpful.

Doctors’ Choice Physical Medicine and Rehab

Dr. David Novatnak

Glee Pascual, Physical Therapist

Pottsville, Schuylkill County

This information is solely advisory, and should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice.  Any and all health care concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a health care professional who is familiar with your medical history.