Chiropractic and Work Injuries

If you just slipped down the stairs or hurt your back lifting at work, what would you do? Would you consider seeking chiropractic care? As an employer, if one of your workers gets injured what might you recommend?

As a worker, you may not be familiar with the process of receiving health care for a work related injury. An employee is entitled to medical and/ or chiropractic care for treatment of an injury that has occurred while on the job. The employer’s insurance company should cover all the costs of this treatment. Goals of treatment are to return you to work, remove your discomfort, help you to heal, and return you to normal activities.

In accordance with the employer’s responsibility, the treatment should only return you to what is called “pre-injury status.” Your treatment then is directed towards helping the injured areas heal as quickly and completely as possible.

The Worker’s Compensation Fund of Utah conducted an extensive study on one half of all Utah’s Worker’s Compensation cases in 1986; this study compares chiropractic to medical treatment and appears in the August 1991 issue of the Journal of Occupational Medicine. The total cost of treatment for identical injuries and diagnoses was less for chiropractic treatments than medical patients, even though the chiropractic patients received 54 days of treatment versus 34 days of medical treatment. Even so, the most important news for employers is that the compensation which is “pay” for days off or lost from work, was one tenth, 1/10th, for chiropractic patients! The reason? The average number of days lost from work for chiropractic patients was 3 as opposed to 21 days for medical patients.

Employers need to be aware that chiropractic is the most efficient and cost effective way to get the worker back to work!

Chiropractors generally, work with the patient to look at work habits, which might aggravate or instigate an injury. By avoiding these poor habits, and by substituting measures, there is less chance for re-injury. Chiropractors may combine a treatment of chiropractic manipulation with physical therapy modalities to provide an overall treatment plan. Recommended exercises can also help the patient feel better and recover quicker.

How do you begin to receive relief after an on the job accident? Your first obligation is to inform your employer of the injury. You should receive a form. Your employer may send you to a recommended chiropractor or a company doctor. Often, you can go to an M.D. or D.C. (doctor of chiropractic) of your choice. If you are not satisfied with this doctor, or you would like to visit a D.C.,  after 5 working days you can request another doctor. After 30 days, though, you can usually visit any doctor of your choice.

As an employee under treatment for a Worker’s Compensation injury, you should be following all of your doctors instructions to get back to work safely. Since your employer is paying treatment costs, your obligation is to do all you can to get well. When you feel well, and are back to work, everyone is happier!