Workers comp low back pain rehabilitation in workers compensation cases after surgery is more complex. Depending on the type of low back surgery, an injured worker may leave the hospital shortly after surgery. Some procedures, such as fusion surgery, require that one stay in the hospital for a few days. It may be less with a discectomy, laminectomy or foraminotomy. When in the hospital, a physical therapist may visit in your hospital room soon after surgery. Physical therapy sessions help the injured worker learn to move and begin doing routine activities without putting extra strain on the low back.
During recovery from surgery, one should follow the surgeon’s instructions about wearing a back brace or soft lumbar support belt. The patient should be cautious about overdoing activities in the first few weeks after surgery.
The injured employee may need therapy outside of the hospital. With a lumbar fusion, the surgeon may have you wait six weeks to three months before starting therapy. Once you start in therapy, you’ll usually go for one to three months, depending on your progress and the type of surgery you had. At first, your therapist may use treatments such as heat or ice, electrical stimulation, massage, and ultrasound to help calm pain and muscle spasm. Pool therapy is often helpful after lumbar surgery.
Exercises are used to improve flexibility in the trunk and lower limbs. Strengthening for the abdominal and low back muscles is started. The injured worker is shown safe ways to sleep, sit, lift, and carry. And he or she will be given ideas on how to do one’s work activities safely. This is very important for workers with physical job duties such as iron workers, construction workers, laborers, certified nurse assistants, tool and die makers, machinists, warehouse workers, and factory workers. Ideally, a worker will be able to go back to his previous activities. However, one may need to modify her activities to avoid future problems. When treatment is well under way, regular visits to the therapist’s office will continue to be a resource. But the worker is in charge of doing his or her exercises as part of an ongoing home program.
At McCormick Law Office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin our attorneys represent injured employees with workers comp low back pain rehabilitation following surgery. It is very important that the client get off work slips or continuing restrictions that he or she turns into the employer or worker’s compensation insurer so that temporary total disability benefits can continue. Permanent disability benefits may be determined following work hardening or a functional capacity evaluation. Workers compensation loss of earning capacity or retraining benefits come after honest and trustworthy FCE results adopted by the surgeon.