Wisconsin injured workers with a herniated disc prefer to return to work if possible. After acute treatment is rehabilitation.
Back surgery for a herniated disc as a result of a work-related traumatic injury or from job duties over time is not as common as it was ten years ago, but it is done if medically necessary and reasonable under. This is a medical not a legal determination. As workers compensation attorneys, we work with the facts we have and obtain workers compensation benefits for injured workers in cases with or without surgery. The most important factors are strong causation and realistic permanent restrictions under the circumstances.
Herniated disc diagnosis begins with a complete history and physical exam. The doctor will ask questions about symptoms and how the problem is affecting daily activities. Questions about pain location and whether there is numbness or weakness in the legs. The doctor will also want to know what positions or activities make symptoms worse or better.
What does a lumbar herniated disc from a workers compensation injury feel like? Many cases of lumbar disc herniation result from degenerative changes in the spine caused by physical job duties over time. Repetitive bending, twisting and lifting at work contributing to degenerative disc disease. The changes that eventually lead to a disc herniation produce symptoms gradually. At first, complaints may only be dull pain centered in the low back, pain that comes and goes over a period of a few years. Doctors think this is mainly from small tears in the annulus. Larger cracks in the annulus may spread pain into the buttocks or lower limbs.
What causes a lumbar herniated disc in the workers compensation context. How is a disc herniation in the low back work-related? This is important to the injured or aging worker with low back pain. A herniated disc can be disabling, taking someone away from their livelihood. If we can prove its work related, there can be workers comp benefits to pay medical bills, and help with wage loss through disability benefits, and for future loss of earning capacity and/or retraining benefits.
Lumbar herniated disc is the most common workers compensation injury that we handle in our practice. Although people often refer to a disc herniation as a slipped disc, the disc doesn't actually slip out of place. Rather, the term herniation means that the material at the center of the disc has squeezed out of its normal space. This condition mainly affects people between 30 and 40 years old.
Injured workers with a herniated disc who undergo surgery must also partake in rehabilitation. After surgery the worker is necessarily unable to work and may be receiving TTD disability benefits while in the healing period. If they are not being paid temporary total disability benefits, we include this as part of the claim if there is a doctor's authorization off work due to the work-related condition and surgery. Many of our clients with a herniated disc have a discectomy or fusion surgery, often with laminectomy or foraminotomy.
Many injured workers with a herniated disc do not have surgery. Rather they try to rehab on their own or under the direction of a doctor and therapists. The employee may return to work with or without restrictions. Most injured workers returning to work without restrictions are careful and self-limit activities so as to reduce the chance of reinjury or aggravation. In either case, its important to report any new injury or aggravation of pre-existing condition to the employer and your doctor. In the meantime, here is some typical nonsurgical rehabilitation routes chosen by workers.
When an injured worker with a herniated disc exhausts conservative treatment yet still has disabling pain and restricted mobility, the doctor may recommend surgery. If the symptoms are mild and there is no danger they will get worse, surgery is not usually recommended. However, if signs appear that pressure is building on the spinal nerves, surgery may be required to return the worker to his best pre-injury condition. The signs doctors watch for when reaching this decision include weakening in the leg muscles, pain that won't ease up, and problems with the bowels or bladder.