Workers Compensation spinal stenosis rehab is important for medical and legal consequences. Medically its important to ensuring the best physical outcome. Legally, the end result is key to what workers compensation benefits are available. If there are work-related permanent restrictions affecting your return to work, there may be loss of earning capacity and/or vocational retraining benefits available. It takes expert medical and vocational opinions but the starting point is permanent work restrictions.
Even if you don’t need surgery, your doctor may recommend that you work with a physical or occupational therapist. Patients are normally seen a few times each week for one to two months. In severe cases, patients may need a few additional weeks of care.
Your therapist creates a program to help you regain back movement, strength, endurance, and function. Treatments for lumbar spinal stenosis often include lumbar traction, described earlier. Hands-on treatments such as massage and specialized forms of soft-tissue mobilization may be used initially. They are used to help you begin moving with less pain and greater ease. Therapists also guide patients in a program of exercise designed to widen the spinal canal and take pressure off the spinal nerves.
It is important to improve the strength and coordination in the abdominal and low back muscles. Your therapist can also evaluate your workstation or the way you use your body when you do your activities and suggest changes to avoid further problems.
After surgery, surgeons may have their patient work with a physical or occupational therapist. Patients who’ve had fusion surgery normally need to wait two to three months before beginning a rehabilitation program. They will probably need to attend therapy sessions for six to eight weeks and should expect full recovery to take up to six months.
During therapy after surgery, the therapist may use treatments such as heat or ice, electrical stimulation, and massage to help calm pain and muscle spasm. Then patients begin learning how to move safely with the least strain on their healing back.
As the rehabilitation program evolves, patients do more challenging exercises. The goal is to safely advance strength and function. As the therapy sessions come to an end, therapists help patients get back to the activities they enjoy.
Ideally, patients are able to resume normal activities. Patients may need guidance on which activities are safe or how to change the way they go about certain activities.
When treatment is well under way, regular visits to the therapist’s office will end. The therapist will continue to be a resource. But patients are in charge of doing their exercises as part of an ongoing home program for spinal stenosis.
McCormick Law Office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.