The Minnesota workers’ compensation system often deals with back injuries, which are one of the most common types of injuries suffered at work. If you have a work-related back injury, you have a number of options for treatment and benefits while you are unable to perform your job.
Workers may suffer from several different kinds of back injuries, which can range from mildly painful to completely incapacitating. These injuries include:
- Lifting injuries
- Muscle strain or sprain
- Overuse and repetitive use injuries
- Herniated, slipped, or ruptured disks
- Fractured vertebrae
- Compression fractures
- Pinched nerves
Minnesota law provides specific treatment parameters for doctors treating injured workers with back conditions. These rules explain how your doctor must document his or her medical opinion, diagnosing and coding particular injuries, which treatment options will be covered by insurance, and more. Tell your doctor that you were injured at work before you start receiving treatment so that your doctor can order treatment within the parameters. Otherwise, you may have to pay for some treatments out of pocket.
If you need surgery for your back injury, your doctor will need to follow additional surgical parameters under the law. Some doctors recommend that particular patients should receive lumbar fusion or spinal fusion surgery to treat degenerative disc disease, spinal fractures, or severe chronic lower back pain. The Minnesota Department of Industry has issued a fact sheet about lumbar fusion surgery so that injured workers can make informed decision about whether to undergo the surgery.
In particular, the fact sheet alerts workers that the surgery is not always successful. Fewer than 50% of lumbar surgery patients return to work after surgery. Patients may want to choose alternative treatment methods such as “intensive physical rehabilitation, chronic pain management, ongoing medication, work conditioning/work hardening programs and health club memberships”. Also, the fact sheet reminds workers that they can seek a second opinion about whether surgery is necessary. Your employer’s insurance company must pay for the second opinion.
Need help getting workers’ compensation for your back injury? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.