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January 2015 Archives

Wisconsin Workers Compensation: It's Not Broke, Don't Fix It

The governor's budget bill may propose to dismantle Wisconsin's workers compensation system.  In 1911 Wisconsin passed the nation's first worker's compensation system and it has remained the model for the country for over one hundred years.  One of the reasons worker's comp has worked so well in Wisconsin is the Wisconsin Worker's Compensation Advisory Council.  The Council was created to advise the Worker's Compensation Department and Legislature on policy matters concerning the development and administration of the worker's compensation law. One of the most important and enduring principles of the Council is maintaining the overall stability of the workers compensation system without regard to Democrat or Republican changes in the legislative or executive branches of government.  The Council is comprised of members representing employers, insurers, labor and government.  Its recommendations have formed the basis of all legislative changes since 1968.  In 2014, for the first time, the legislature chose to ignore the independent Council recommendations.  Now, the governor plans to dramatically dismantle Wisconsin's model worker's compensation system through his budget bill.

Can MRI results predict surgery success

Can MRI results predict surgery success?  Workers' compensation employees with an injured neck or low back may have a cervical or lumbar MRI documenting a bulging or herniated disc.  The herniated disc causes a pinched nerve resulting in radicular pain down the arm or leg.  Surgery may be recommended.  Unfortunately there is no correlation between pre-surgical MRI results and post-surgery recovery.

Work-related Piriformis Syndrome Treatment

Work-related piriformis syndrome treatment often involves doctors monitoring the patients' condition to see if symptoms improve. At this stage many injured workers are off work with a doctor's excuse or off work restrictions and are receiving worker's comp benefits called TTD benefits.  When the insurance adjustor denies benefits, McCormick Law Office attorneys can advise on the best course of action to take for the best results under Wisconsin's worker's compensation law. Anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, are commonly used to treat the pain and inflammation caused by the irritation on the nerve. Acetaminophen or Tylenol can be used to treat the pain but will not control the inflammation.  Physical therapy may be ordered to ease spasm and pain in the piriformis muscle. Exercises, particularly stretching exercises, are given to try and relieve irritation on the sciatic nerve.

Workers Comp Piriformis Syndrome Symptoms

Workers Comp piriformis syndrome symptoms are pain radiating down the back of the leg and may be confused for a herniated disc in the lumbar spine. Changes in sensation and weakness in the leg or foot are rare. Some people say they feel a sensation of vague tingling down the leg.  Sitting may be difficult and people tend to sit with the sore side buttock tilted up.

Work-related Piriformis Syndrome

Piriformis syndrome can be another cause of work-related sciatica.  Pain in the buttock that radiates down the leg is called sciatica.  Sciatica is due to irritation of the spinal nerves in or near the lumbar spine.  In most of our workers compensation cases, sciatica is caused by a bulging or herniated intervertebral disc.  The jelly-like center of the disc, the nucleus pulposus, oozes out and touches the descending nerve roots as they leave the spinal cord, causing pain down the leg.  Another cause of sciatica can be sacroiliac or SI joint dysfunction.  A third cause of work-related sciatica can be piriformis syndrome.

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