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What Doctor Should You See After a Workers’ Comp Injury?

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Finding the Right Doctor

Sustaining an injury is stressful enough; obtaining one at work and not knowing which steps to take can add even more stress. The stress factors from an injury can spiral into feeling depressed and even in some cases, hopeless. There are medical professionals that are here to help with any work-related injuries. Depending on which injury you obtain will determine which doctor is best for you to visit. There are a variety of treatment options they will use in order to obtain the most effective road to recovery.


An Orthopedist is a specialist who focuses on any kind of bone injury or abnormality. For instance, an employee that works in a job that requires a great deal of heavy lifting has a better chance of accidentally breaking a bone. An Orthopedist would be the best doctor for them to seek various treatment options. Some of the common symptoms an employee could experience with a bone injury are numbness and tingling, bruising, swelling around the area, as well as lack of mobility of the limb. Orthopedists will use various treatment methods, depending on the severity of the injury and the placement. Fractures can occur in numerous ways. One can break a bone in one spot; others fracture bones in several.

If a bone is broken in one spot, it is termed a Simple Fracture. If it has three or more bone fragments, this is coined a Comminuted Fracture. If the skin has been opened in any way, this is called a Compound Fracture. If the break is angled across the long access of the bone it is called an Oblique Fracture. In the instance that the broken bone pieces are aligned, this would be termed a Stable Fracture; if not aligned it would be a Displaced Fracture. If the fracture is positioned at a right angle to the long axis of the bone it is termed a Transverse Fracture. And lastly, a Greenstick Fracture is a fracture on one side of the bone causing a bend on the opposite side of the bone. An X-ray is performed for the doctor to determine which type of fracture they are dealing with and then decide on the best course of treatment. Stabilizing the limb is usually done by placing metal screws, bolts or pins in order to hold the bone in place. With the combination of rest, hydrating, and rehab, bone fractures will heal in due time.


A Physiatrist is a specialist that tends to a wide variety of medical conditions. Some of these include spinal cord conditions, nerves, joints, bones, etc. This would be useful for anything to do with extensive injuries sustained at the workplace. These injuries could include slips, fallen objects or even worse. Physical therapies are often practiced as a part of the treatment course. Designing a plan to improve the patient’s overall health – weight management, unhealthy lifestyle changes, etc. If excess weight gain is at play, a Physiatrist would suggest a healthier meal plan in order to combat the issue. Unhealthy lifestyle changes can be anything from attempting to quit smoking, to stress management. For nerve damage sustained from an injury, these specialists will often use injections to help with pain management. Combining exercises, healthy living along with non-opiate medications, these injuries can subside over time.

Pain Management Specialist

A Pain Management Specialist deals with patients that have chronic pain. In relation to a work-related injury, a pain management specialist could help with areas such as Physical Therapy and the like. If a worker experiences a bad fall and a long-lasting injury, they could benefit from pain management. Medication is often implemented with this type of pain in order to increase the quality of life. Depending on the severity can have a direct impact on being able to participate in everyday life activities. Chronic pain is often treated by means of medication (in many cases opiates are given) and physical therapy. There have been ongoing, extensive studies looking into ways to improve chronic ailments by means of not having to rely on the use of pain medication. To date some of the measures used include, therapy sessions, physical activity to raise endorphins, supplements, and vitamins, water therapies such as utilizing whirlpools can help lessen pain. Acupuncture, and electric therapies such as TENS units. These send electrical shocks to various nerve endings to help reduce pain.


A Neurologist is a specialist dealing with areas of the brain. These injuries can be sustained by force of contact, such as a sports-related injury. Injuries such as concussions can be experienced by professional athletes, as well as any place of work. An injury such as this can then cultivate neurological issues. Some of the common symptoms one could experience are headaches, numbness, chronic pain, dizziness, to name just a few. A Neurologist will work to decipher which type of treatment is best to assist to take away these symptoms. Many times, in severe cases, surgery is performed as a means of treatment.


A Chiropractor is a specialist dealing with the spine and neck. If you were to slip and fall and hurt your back, a Chiropractor would be of benefit to you. They could re-align your back and neck area to relieve some of the pain and get you back to work. Some of the symptoms you could experience are severe pain when attempting to move your neck or back, tingling, numbness. A Chiropractor is specialized in finding the problem areas and deciding the best course of action to help diminish the pain. There are several methods Chiropractors take advantage of.

Toggle drop – a quick, precise thrust towards a target area of the spine.

Motion palpation – the Chiropractor will place his hands along the entire spinal column to determine which areas are out of alignment. A Lumbar roll is helpful with lower back ailments. The Chiropractor will apply rapid thrusts while a patient lies on their side. Release work is when mild pressure is used to separate vertebrae. Table adjustments combine rapid thrusts with a table dropping to help unlock the spine.

Instrument adjustments occur when a patient lies face down on a table and the Chiropractor uses a spring-loaded activator to adjust the spine. Flexion distraction is a technique used in order to isolate certain areas to move the disc away from the nerve. The pain for this method should go away after twelve sessions. Pelvic blocking – Chiropractor takes cushioned wedges and places them on each side of the pelvis. With gentle movements, they can introduce a separation between the disc and the nerve. The Atlas Orthogonal Technique is used when the top vertebra of the surgical spine is out of alignment. A percussion instrument is used to adjust the problem area. The Activator Method is implementing an instrument to activate low impulses to the spine. This is often a more gentle technique to reduce the chance of any further injury. The Graston Technique is the use of six stainless steel instruments that rub the patient’s muscles. This method must be performed by a licensed doctor or Chiropractor. This treatment will help to detect and fix any adhesion found within your tendons and muscles. The Korean Specific Chiropractic Technique is still in the experimental phase but wildly popular in the Chiropractic field. This method can make use of an instrument or just hands. Gonstead Technique was discovered in the 1960s. This method is a hands-on technique to help remedy pain. The Trigenics Chiropractic Technique helps specifically with neurology. Coordinating several visits along with a healthier lifestyle will often be the best course of action for these injuries.

Physical Therapist

A Physical Therapist (PT) is a specialist that helps the rebuilding of any injury that is sustained around the body be it breaks, sprains, muscle weakness, etc. They typically introduce a weekly plan of exercises that will help to rebuild strength and muscle mass to help the body heal more effectively. These doctors are utilized for many work accidents. They will start by conducting a full physical exam, obtain past medical history, along with various methods to test your overall mobility, muscle performance, and movements. They will work with you on short or long-term goals and factor in any at-home exercises you can work on independently. While working with your PT, they will often include workout equipment to help aid in recovery. These include workout bikes.

This is a low-impact method to repairing injuries, treadmills, resistance bands can build muscle and help with flexibility, free weights and dumbbells are commonly implemented for any upper body injury. If excessive soreness within the joints and muscles you work on is felt, you can work with your PT to adjust. Each injury and each patient’s body will react to various exercise activities differently. PT’s will suggest including sources of heat in order to improve the pain you sustained from the injury. Hot packs, heating pads, and moist heat can all be used as methods of heat remedies. Scheduling regular massages is another remedy PT’s often recommend. Massages help to improve circulation and reduce any muscle tension. Physical Therapists have the experience and knowledge of the best methods to take in order to relieve pain after an injury.

Studies tell us that nearly three million workplace injuries take place in the U.S. No matter what type of work-related injury is sustained, there are a variety of different doctors and specialists that will be able to implement a recovery plan in order to reduce the pain, worry, and stress from your life.