If you cannot return to work after a thoracic herniated disc, there are worker’s compensation benefits in Wisconsin if the injury is work-related. Before a doctor assigns any permanent work restrictions, an injured worker should participate in a rehabilitation program in order to return to work at his or her former job.

For nonsurgical rehabilitation, even if you don’t need surgery, your doctor may recommend that you work with a physical therapist. Patients are normally seen a few times each week for four to six weeks. The first goals of treatment are to control symptoms, find positions that ease pain, and teach you how to keep your spine safe during routine activities. As patients recover, they gradually advance in a series of strengthening exercises. Aerobic exercises, such as walking or swimming, can ease pain and improve endurance.

For workers who have had a surgery, rehabilitation after surgery is more complex. Some patients leave the hospital shortly after surgery. However, some surgeries require patients to stay in the hospital for a few days. Patients who stay in the hospital may be visited by a physical therapist soon after surgery. The treatment sessions help patients learn to move and do routine activities without putting extra strain on the back. During recovery from surgery, patients should follow their surgeon’s instructions about wearing a back brace or support belt. They should be cautious about overdoing activities in the first few weeks after surgery. Many surgical patients need physical therapy outside of the hospital. They see a therapist for one to three months, depending on the type of surgery. At first, therapists may use treatments such as heat or ice, electrical stimulation, massage, and ultrasound to calm pain and muscle spasm. Then they teach patients how to move safely with the least strain on the healing back.

As patients recover, they gradually begin doing flexibility exercises for the hips and shoulders. Mobility exercises are also started for the back. Strengthening exercises address the back muscles. Patients may work with the therapist in a pool. Patients progress with exercises to improve endurance, muscle strength, and body alignment. As the rehabilitation program evolves, patients do more challenging exercises. The goal is to safely advance strength and function. Ideally, patients are able to go back to their previous activities. However, some patients may need to modify their activities to avoid future problems. The therapist may perform a functional capacity evaluation to help the doctor set any permanent work restrictions. This may give rise to more workers compensation benefits such as retraining or loss of earning capacity benefits.

In Milwaukee, Wisconsin McCormick Law Office attorneys get worker’s compensation benefits for injured workers who cannot return to work.