Workers compensation cervical radiculopathy treatment often starts with nonsurgical treatment unless the nerve problem is getting worse rapidly. At first, the doctor may prescribe immobilization of the neck. Keeping the neck still for a short time can calm inflammation and pain. This might include being off work on TTD benefits with one to two days of bed rest and the use of a soft neck collar. This collar is a padded ring that wraps around the neck and is held in place by a Velcro strap. Normally, a patient need only wear a collar for one to two weeks. Wearing it longer tends to weaken the neck muscles.
Doctors prescribe certain types of medication for patients with cervical radiculopathy. Severe symptoms may be treated with narcotic drugs, such as codeine or morphine. But these drugs are often only used for the first few days or weeks after problems with radiculopathy start because they are addictive when used too much or improperly. Muscle relaxants may be prescribed to calm neck muscles that are in spasm. You may be prescribed anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen.
Some doctors have their patients work with a physical therapist. At first, treatments are used to ease pain and inflammation. Electrical stimulation treatments can help calm muscle spasm and pain. Traction is a way to gently stretch the joints and muscles of the neck. It can be done using a machine with a special head halter, or the therapist can apply the traction pull by hand.
Some patients are given an epidural steroid injection (ESI).The spinal cord travels in a tube within the bones of the spinal canal. The cord is covered by a material called dura. The space between the dura and the spinal column is the epidural space. It is thought that injecting steroid medication into this space fights inflammation around the nerves, the discs, and the facet joints. In some cases, the steroid injection is given around one specific nerve. This is called a selective nerve block. The response to this treatment helps confirm which nerve root is causing the symptoms.
Doctors often have their patients try nonoperative treatments for at least three months before considering surgery. But when patients simply aren’t getting better, or if the problem is becoming more severe, surgery may be suggested.
McCormick Law Office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin represents injured workers with cervical radiculopathy caused from a traumatic injury or from job duties over time. The workers compensation insurance company denies cervical radiculopathy claims based on IME doctor reports which claim pre-existing condition and that it is not work-related. These IME doctors often ignore MRI findings and the injured worker’s job duties. Believe in better.