Wisconsin injured workers with a herniated disc prefer to return to work if possible. After acute treatment is rehabilitation.
Without surgery, the doctor may recommend physical therapy. Patients are normally seen a few times each week for four to six weeks.
The first goal of treatment is to control symptoms. The therapist will help find positions and movements that ease pain. Treatments of heat, cold, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation may be used in the first few sessions. Lumbar traction may also be used at first to ease symptoms of lumbar disc herniation. In addition, the therapist may use hands-on treatments such as massage or spinal manipulation. These forms of treatment are mainly used to help reduce pain and inflammation so one can resume normal activity as soon as possible.
The therapist shows how to keep the spine safe during routine activities. Healthy posture is reviewed along with body mechanics, how the body moves and functions during activity. Therapists teach safe body mechanics to help protect the low back as one goes through the day. This includes the use of safe positions and movements while lifting and carrying, standing and walking, and performing work duties.
Next comes a series of strengthening exercises for the abdominal and low back muscles. Working these core muscles helps patients begin moving easier and lessens the chances of future pain and problems. Aerobic exercises such as walking or swimming are used for easing pain and improving endurance.
The therapist will work closely with the doctor to get the worker back on the job as quickly as reasonably possible. It may be light duty at first, working toward normal work activities. The therapist can do a work assessment and suggest changes that could help one work safely, with less chance of re-injuring your back.
A primary purpose of therapy is to manage symptoms and prevent future problems. There will be a home program of exercises to continue improving flexibility, posture, endurance, and low back and abdominal strength.
Rehabilitation after herniated disc surgery is more complex. Patients may see a physical therapist in the hospital. 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 and be cautious about overdoing activities in the first few weeks after surgery.
Many surgical patients need physical therapy outside of the hospital. This therapy would follow the trajectory outlined above.
McCormick Law Office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin gets the best attorney results in workers comp cases when the physical therapist assists the doctor in setting accurate permanent work restrictions. Benefits include permanent disability, loss of earning capacity, retraining and total disability in appropriate circumstances.