Lumbar degenerative disc disease rehabilitation in worker’s compensation cases can be divided as nonsurgical and following surgery. This post discusses rehabilitation after surgery. DDD can be aggravated by an on the job accident or DDD can be caused by job duties over time. Accordingly, any rehabilitation plan should take into account the nature of the job duties and what precipitated the aggravation of DDD to the point where medical care was necessary. The goal is for the injured worker to return to work a quickly and safely as possible.

After 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 visit with a physical therapist in the hospital room soon after surgery. The treatment sessions help patients learn to move and do routine activities without putting extra strain on their backs.

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. Patients who’ve had lumbar fusion surgery normally need to wait up to three months before beginning a rehabilitation program. They typically need to attend therapy sessions for eight to 12 weeks and should expect recovery to take up to six months. After physical therapy some injured workers participate in work hardening, which is a more intensive form of physical therapy and usually customized to the injured worker’s specific job duties. Occasionally, a recovering worker attends a pain clinic, but that is generally only after all other rehabilitation and return to work options are exhausted.

During this healing period the injured worker is entitled to temporary total disability or TTD benefits. This presumes the treating surgeon has given the opinion that the need for surgery was due to a work-related condition or injury. Once the healing period is over, the doctor assesses any permanent partial disability or PPD percentage, which translates in more workers compensation benefits.

In Milwaukee, Wisconsin McCormick Law Office attorneys represent workers rehabbing from degenerative disc disease in workers compensation claims. The workers compensation benefits available include temporary total disability, permanent partial disability, loss of earning capacity, retraining, and occasionally permanent total disability benefits. The focus of rehabilitation should return the injured worker to his or her activities of daily living including returning to work. Injured workers in Wisconsin want to be productive, contributing members of society and workers compensation benefits are there to help reach that goal.