Work-Related Cervical or Neck Injury Rehabilitation varies based on whether the injury required surgery. Here is very generally what one may expect for rehab after the initial acute treatment of a workers compensation neck or cervical spine injury. Every case is different and one should only take a advice from a medical professional. This information is given simply to illustrate what an injured worker may expect in the course of a serious injury claim.
Fusion surgery is a last resort for work-related cervical or neck injury. After fusion, most injured workers are given permanent work restrictions from their surgeon. If the work restrictions prevent a return to work in the same type of job that contributed to the workers compensation injury, there may be additional workers compensation benefits available - loss of earning capacity and/or vocational retraining benefits. A fusion surgery joins two or more bones into one solid bone. The purpose for doing spinal fusion is to increase the space between the vertebrae and to keep the sore joint from moving. This is usually done by placing a small block of bone graft in the space where a disc was removed. Opening up space enlarges the neural foramen, takes pressure off the nerve roots, and eases tension on the facet joints. Cervical fusion is used to treat neck problems such as cervical radiculopathy, disc herniations, fractures, and spinal instability.
Rarely is a Wisconsin work-related cervical or neck injury case scheduled for immediate surgery. The doctor may suggest immediate surgery if there are signs of pressure developing on the spinal cord or if muscles are becoming weaker very rapidly. But most of the time, even in the case of cervical radiculopathy, shooting pain down the arm, conservative treatment for the work injury will be pursued. For most work-related neck conditions, doctors prefer to try nonsurgical treatments for a minimum of three months before considering surgical options. Most people with neck pain tend to get better, not worse. Even people who have degenerative spine changes tend to gradually improve with time. Surgery may be suggested when severe pain is not improving.
Injections for work-related cervical or neck injury are a treatment option covered by Wisconsin workers compensation benefits.
Relief of Work-Related Cervical or Neck Injury symptoms starts with Nonsurgical Treatment. Whenever possible, doctors prefer to use treatments other than surgery. The first goal of these nonsurgical treatments is to ease the pain and other symptoms. The health care providers will work with you to improve your neck movement and strength. They will also encourage healthy body alignment and posture. These steps are designed to slow the degeneration process and enable you to get back to your normal activities.
The gold standard for Work-Related Cervical or Neck Injury Diagnosis is the MRI. Magnetic waves to create pictures of the cervical spine in slices. The MRI scan shows the cervical spine bones, as well as the soft tissue structures such as the discs, joints, and nerves. MRI scans are painless and don't require needles or dye.
Symptoms from Work-Related Cervical or Neck Injury vary. They depend on your condition and which neck structures are affected. Some of the more common symptoms of neck problems are:
Work-Related Cervical or Neck Injury can cause a Herniated Disc from jobs with heavy, repetitive bending, twisting, and lifting as it places extra pressure on the shock-absorbing nucleus of the disc. If great enough, this increased pressure can injure the annulus (the tough, outer ring of the disc). If the annulus ruptures or tears, the material in the nucleus can squeeze out of the disc. This is called a herniation. Although daily activities may cause the nucleus to press against the annulus, the body is normally able to withstand these pressures. However, as the annulus ages, it tends to crack and tear. It is repaired with scar tissue. Over time, the annulus becomes weakened, and the disc can more easily herniate through the damaged annulus.
Work-Related Cervical or Neck Injury usually results in either mechanical or radicular pain.
Work-Related Cervical or Neck Injury causing Degenerative Disc Disease can be from the repetitive stresses and strains of physical job duties over time. The normal aging process within the intervertebral discs weakens the connective tissues that make up a disc. Over time, the nucleus or jelly doughnut in the center of the disc dries out and loses some of its ability to absorb shock. The annulus or doughy outside of the doughnut also weakens and develops small cracks and tears which the jelly or nucleus can leak through.