Rehabilitation after work-related vertebral a compression fracture can be a slow process. If unable to work, one should be receiving workers comp benefits while attending therapy sessions and understand recovery can take time.
Most spinal compression fractures caused a traumatic accident at work are treated with rest and other conservative measures. Patients who were fit with a special brace are usually able to begin increasing their activity level after about one week. However, patients are encouraged to avoid strenuous activity until their doctor approves resuming normal levels of activity.
People who have back pain generally find their pain improves as the fracture heals. However, the fracture changes the way the spine works, so it is not unusual for patients to have some lingering soreness in the muscles and joints near the fractured vertebra. If pain continues, let your doctor know.
After six to eight weeks, doctors may have their patients begin a period of physical therapy. This is especially true when patients lose muscle tone, are deconditioned from having to limit their activities, or have ongoing pain.
At first, treatments help control pain and inflammation. Ice and electrical stimulation treatments are commonly used to help with these goals. Your therapist may also use massage and other hands-on treatments to ease muscle spasm and pain.
Treatments are also used to improve posture. A combination of flexibility, strength, and postural exercise may be all that is needed to help your posture. Sometimes patients may need additional support with either a rigid brace or a fabric corset.
The therapist also works with you on how to move and do activities. This form of treatment, called body mechanics, is used to help you develop new movement habits. This training helps you keep your back in safe positions and avoid extra strain near the fracture as you go about your work and daily activities. Training includes positions you use when sitting, lying, standing, and walking. You’ll also work on safe body mechanics with lifting, carrying, pushing, and pulling.
The therapist periodically tests your posture, balance, and strength to see how well you are improving. The therapist’s goal for you is to become proficient and safe with your exercises and improve your posture, strength, and flexibility. The therapist gives you tips on how to avoid future problems.
When patients are well under way, regular visits to the therapist’s office end. The therapist continues to be a resource, but patients are in charge of doing their exercises as part of an ongoing home program.
McCormick Law Office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin represents injured workers with compression fractures, often in the thoracic vertebrae. We obtain disability benefits and medical bill payments.