When a Wisconsin injured worker suffers a thoracic herniated disc the first treatment is usually nonsurgical. The doctors closely monitor patients with symptoms from a thoracic disc herniation, even when the size of the herniation is small. If the disc starts to put pressure on the spinal cord or on the blood vessels going to the spinal cord, neurological symptoms can develop. In some of these cases, surgery is needed. However, unless your condition is affecting the spinal cord or is rapidly getting worse, most doctors will begin with nonsurgical treatment.
At first, your doctor may recommend immobilizing your back. Keeping the back still for a short time can calm inflammation and pain. This might include one to two days of bed rest, since lying on your back can take pressure off sore discs and nerves. However, most doctors advise against strict bed rest and prefer their patients do ordinary activities, using pain to gauge how much activity is too much. Another option for immobilizing the back is a back support brace worn for up to one week. If off work, be sure to get an off work authorization form from the doctor as this supports a claim for workers compensation benefits called temporary total disability benefits, or TTD. Even if the workers compensation insurance company is denying TTD, get an off work slip in order to support the TTD claim at hearing.
Doctors prescribe certain types of medication for patients with thoracic disc herniation. Patients may be prescribed anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen. Muscle relaxants may be prescribed if the back muscles are in spasm. Pain that spreads into the arms or legs is sometimes relieved with oral steroids taken in tapering dosages.
Your doctor may have a physical therapist direct your rehabilitation program. Therapy treatments focus on relieving pain, improving back movement, and fostering healthy posture. A therapist can design a rehabilitation program for your condition that helps you prevent future problems.
Most people with a herniated thoracic disc get better without surgery. Doctors usually have their patients try nonoperative treatment for at least six weeks before considering surgery.
If you return to work part-time, you are entitled to temporary partial disability or TPD benefits, if the doctor states the condition is work-related and he or she provides the off work slip authorizing only part-time work.
When the workers compensation company denies treatment, most folks will use health insurance to get treatment and then the health insurer may have a claim to reimbursement called subrogation.
McCormick Law Office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin represents injured workers with thoracic herniated disc caused by a single traumatic incident such as a car accident or fall. Believe in better.