Deciding whether to undergo surgery for a back injury you sustained at work can depend on various factors, including the severity of the injury, the specific condition involved and your overall health. Surgery is usually considered only after more conservative treatments, such as medication and physical therapy, fail.
However, sometimes, surgery makes much more sense. For example, if your injury caused you to be constantly in pain and affects your daily living, the pain could indicate something is wrong. In these situations, surgery may be the best option for your recovery.
Severe nerve compression
If the spinal nerves are compressed, you probably feel debilitating pain. Without surgery, this pain could be permanent. Nerve compression can also cause physical weakness or numbness that does not improve with conservative treatment.
If the injury you sustained caused excessive movement between vertebrae because of a fracture or severe ligament damage, you can experience chronic pain and difficulty moving, which can affect your day-to-day life and decrease your quality of life.
If you sustained an injury that resulted in a herniated disc and your doctor, or the insurance company’s doctor, recommended conservative treatments, but you continue to feel persistent pain or loss of sensation, it can mean that conservative treatment is not enough to heal the injury. A portion of the disc could have sustained trauma, and a surgeon may need to remove it.
If your on-the-job injury resulted in a significant spinal deformity, you are probably experiencing significant, persistent pain that is unlikely to get better with conservative treatments.
In addition, spinal deformities can interfere with your breathing and other essential bodily functions, which makes this condition especially serious.
Importance of adequate treatment
It is important to consult with your physician and, if able, an orthopedic surgeon or neurosurgeon who specializes in back and neck disorders. These individuals can evaluate your case and recommend appropriate treatment options.
However, you must speak up and communicate openly with your medical professional and the insurance company’s medical professional, if applicable, about the severity of your pain, where it hurts, and what this pain prevents you from doing and how it interferes with your daily life.
Communication is key in situations involving workers’ compensation. You should be prepared to advocate for yourself, and ideally join forces with someone who can also advocate on your behalf, to secure the necessary treatment you must undergo to heal your injury and get better.