Workers Comp Physical Therapy Miami
From your nose to your toes, Semper Physical Therapy treats pain!
The majority of injuries workers suffer on the job require ongoing treatment with physical therapy. Outpatient physical therapy can help injured workers reach their highest level of functionality following an injury in the workplace. In Miami, outpatient therapy clinics can help treat work injuries such as carpal tunnel, and pain in the neck, back, and shoulders, among other common ailments reported by injured workers.
Physical therapy due to a workers compensation claim is typically overseen by a supervising physician assigned by the insurance company. While the supervising doctor may see patients throughout their therapy, patients undergoing physical therapy programs will visit the outpatient facility up to four times a week.
Work injury rehabilitation programs exist to treat both acute and chronic pain stemming from an injury suffered at the work place. The primary goal of these physical therapy programs is to return injured workers to work by way of work-related injury therapy. In order to be covered in a workers compensation case, the injury must be related to your work; more specifically:
- You got hurt while at work
- Your injury occurred within the “scope of employment”
As with all workers’ compensation cases you have 30 days from the day the accident occurred to report the accident or incident to your employer. Once you notify your employer, complete the required workers compensation forms and see a doctor.
Physical Therapy Services
Physical therapy services for injured workers begin with comprehensive testing of the affected area to determine the physical limitations caused by the work injury, areas where you feel pain, and functional limitations of the injured areas. A team of physical therapists then evaluate your test results and devise an aggressive yet gentle treatment plan to get as close to your physical functionality prior to your work-related accident. Tests closely mimicking the motions and actions specific to your work activity may also be administered prior to any back-to-work treatment being given.
Functional Capacity Evaluation
In Miami, worker’s compensation insurance carriers may require the injured employee complete a Functional Capacity Evaluation, FCE, which is used to determine whether or not an injured employee is fit to return to work. Typically done after medical leave and treatment have been well underway, the FCE can also be used to determine how much of the original work load the injured party can perform, and if benefits can be terminated. In some instances, functional capacity evaluation testing can have negative impacts on worker’s compensation cases.
During the test, injured workers should put forth the maximum effort possible to complete each task, as long as it does not exceed limitations set forth by the overseeing physician in the case. The FCE is determines how much pulling, pushing, and lifting the injured party can do following their injury.
Patients asked to undergo an FCE should take care to mention if an activity during the evaluation is difficult or causes pain, and whether or not you think you would be able to perform the particular set of movements on a regular basis.
FCE in workers comp cases can also be used to determine disability status, or to end or change eligibility to receive benefits. Patients who are in the midst of physical therapy treatment may find themselves without coverage mid-treatment due to the findings of the functional capacity assessment testing.
Carpal Tunnel Treatment
Carpal tunnel syndrome results from the compression of a nerve in the wrist at the carpal tunnel which causes stiffness, pain, tingling or numbness in the hands, fingers, wrists, and arm. Mild symptoms begin in the hands or fingers; usually in the form of stiffness, leading sufferers to often dismiss the symptoms as a simple hand cramp, unaware that it can travel gradually up the arm as it progresses. Loss of grip strength and hand weakness can also occur due to the pressure on the median nerve from the compressed carpal tunnel.
Work-related carpal tunnel is caused by ongoing repetitive motion tasks, especially in the case where the hands are at an awkward position, or subject to constant vibration. Forced repeated motion in the hands further exacerbates symptoms as is the case with tailor, assembly line workers, musicians, typists, and machine operators, among others.
Carpal tunnel treatment through physical therapy can be effective by encouraging flexibility and strength in the muscles of the hands and wrists, correction of posture, stretching, traction and hand splints.
Lower Back Pain Treatment
The term “back breaking labor” becomes all too real to those who suffer from acute or chronic back pain injuries at work. Temporary and chronic back pain can occur to employees in vastly different fields. Those who engage in repeated lifting of heavy objects, repetitive motion, or long periods of inactivity, are at greatest risk for hurting their backs. Among the professions with reports of lower back pain nurses, fire fighters, truck drivers, and heavy machine operators report back related injuries with the most frequency. Pain can range from dull and constant to sharp shooting pain, making it difficult for sufferers to stay in any one position comfortably for an extended amount of time.
Lower back pain treatment may include lumbar stabilization exercises which are designed to strengthen the muscles which provide support to the lower back. A physical therapist may also use alternating heat and cold therapies for relief of pain, as well as electrical stimulation. Active physical therapy, where patients are treated through a series of stretches and exercises may also be used as a mean of treatment.
Back Pain Treatment
One third of all work reported work related injuries are classified as musculoskeletal disorders, MSD, more commonly known as injury to the back.
Medical professionals and occupations which require long periods of sitting have the most reported instances of back pain. Nurses often suffer back injury from hoisting heavy patients or from long periods of standing. Computer programmers who spend many hours hunched over their computers tend to overstretch the spinal ligaments straining the structures of the spinal cord.
Occupational back injuries are sometimes treatable with physical therapy. Exercises which work to strengthen the muscles which support the spine, such as the extensor, flexor and oblique muscles, are proven to be effective in alleviating chronic back pain, and may help patients avoid painful surgeries.
Upper Back Pain Relief
Often caused by poor posture, many patients who work seated at a computer suffer from upper back pain. Many find upper back relief though physical therapy treatments. Active physical therapy, to strengthen the muscles which support the spine, may be prescribed for long term upper back pain relief. More immediately, physical therapists may use hot and cold therapy, massage, or electrical nerve stimulation to immediately relive pain in the area.
For more long term upper back pain relief, physical therapists may offer posture correcting garments and support devices, and prescribe a set of stretches and exercises to be carried out when the upper back begins to tense.
Neck Pain Treatment
Injury to the neck or cervical spine stemming from an accident at work can cause lifelong limitations in mobility, limited field of vision, and chronic pain. Neck injuries can range from minor muscle strain, to whiplash, and bone fractures. Treatment can range from physical therapy programs to corrective surgeries.
The best neck pain treatment is to correct imbalances in posture of the neck and shoulders in relation to the curvature of the spine. Physical therapists can tailor a series of stretches and exercises designed to address neck pain by strengthening and stretching the muscles which support the head. Your physical therapist may also prescribed spinal decompression therapy; a kid of traction therapy treatment to the spine to alleviate pressure on certain discs by inducing retraction.
Shoulder Pain Treatment
One of the joints with the highest range of motion in the body, shoulder injuries can occur in the workplace to those who perform manual labor, repetitive tasks, or play professional sports. The wide range of motion in the shoulder is thanks to the rotator cuff which is made up of four distinct tendons. Rotator cuff injuries may immobilize the entire arm and in some cases the neck. Physical therapy treatments for neck pain may include temporary immobilization, followed by a series of gentle range of motion exercises to restore flexibility and strength to the area.
Shoulder injuries are the second most reported work injury, due in no small part that many repetitive tasks place a great deal of stress on the shoulder making it prone to injury. Shoulder injuries in the work place frequently occur in conjunction with injury to a second body part such as the neck, back or arm.
In an effort to manage overhead costs and control corporate risk associate with workplace injuries, a potential employer may require prospects complete Pre-Employment Testing to determine whether the applicant is fit enough to carry out the tasks associated with the job role. Used to determine that candidates can meet the physical demands of the position for which they are applying, pre-employment screening testing does not capture any private medical information and is best categorized as a simple physical screening. Tests may measure strength, cardiovascular fitness, and endurance; employers are increasingly implementing pre-employment testing in hopes of keeping staff members safe, and lowering workers compensation insurance costs.
Back to Work Physical Therapy
Beginning with an in depth evaluation during your one on one consultation, we typically treat those who were injured at work first to relieve the pain, then to correct the problem. At Semper, we provide workers compensation rehabilitation for the most common ailments: carpal tunnel treatment, lower back pain treatment, treatment of pain in the neck and shoulders, and upper back pain relief, among others. We apply aggressive yet gentle techniques to treat the injured area quickly and effectively. The Semper Physical Therapy staff in Miami is ready to help you heal after your work related injury recovery.
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