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Seeing An Orthopedist After Work-Related Injury

Orthopedic Doctor Seeing an Injured Worker

There are many reasons that someone may need to see an orthopedist, including due to workplace injuries.

In many cases, workplace injuries result from repetitive movements, and they frequently make it impossible to continue to work. An experienced orthopedist knows how to properly treat a patient who suffered a work-related injury affecting joints like the shoulders and spine. They use various treatment options to help patients regain their mobility and ability to get back to work and life.


What Does An Orthopedist Do

An orthopedist can help employees who sustained injuries following an accident on the job site. It is common for injured employees to visit an orthopedic doctor if ice and ibuprofen are not enough to fix it. Orthopedists also help patients deal with injuries due to repetitive motions.

Orthopedic care refers to treating conditions and injuries related to the musculoskeletal system. Orthopedic doctors have specialized training that helps them make an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. This accuracy is necessary for treating the cause of pain and discomfort.

It is also common for orthopedic doctors to work with other physicians to offer well-rounded and complete care for their patients. They may work with other doctors to treat workplace injuries from overexertion, repetitive motion, or reactions.

Common Treatments Used

Before determining the ideal treatment method, an orthopedic doctor will take the time to assess the patient’s injuries. This helps create the treatment plan, and it also provides documentation for a workers’ compensation claim. Remember that being treated by an orthopedist right away not only reduces your suffering and prevents injuries from getting worse, but also provides you with the documentation for your claim.

Orthopedic doctors who specialize in worker’s compensation frequently deal with torn ligaments, nerve pain, fractures, spine strains and sprains, and strains and sprains affecting joints and supportive tissues.

In terms of treatments, they regularly provide orthopedic surgery, non-surgical orthopedic care, diagnostic testing, and rehabilitation therapy.

Common Work-related and Car Accident Injuries

Orthopedic doctors commonly deal with injuries from car accidents in addition to those from workers’ compensation. In either case, both treatment and documentation of the diagnosis and treatment may be required for legal claims. Among the various types of common workplace trauma, orthopedic injuries are the most expensive. To put it in perspective, the American Chiropractic Association found that back pain leads to 264 million annual missed days of work.

The following are some of the injuries from work and car accidents that orthopedists commonly help with.

Slips and Falls

As you look through the various common injuries, you will notice that many of those related to the workplace result from slipping and falling. Slipping on any surface can be dangerous. The risk increases if your work puts you on a ladder, scaffolding, or another high platform.


 It is also important to note that workplace injuries can overlap with injuries from auto collisions when the accident occurs at work. Workplace auto collisions can include trucks, forklifts, and other equipment, in addition to cars. They tend to have a similar range of injuries as regular car accidents.

Broken Bones

Broken bones can occur from collisions or falling objects in the workplace and are among the most common injuries from car accidents, as well. The sudden movements in a collision can cause you to come into contact with a hard object at high speeds. Broken ribs are among the more serious bone breaks that commonly occur in car accidents.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common workplace injury among those who write or type for long hours every day. It can lead to uncomfortable pain and tingling in the hand. While some people respond to less-invasive methods, carpal tunnel syndrome may require surgery.

Cuts & Bruises

Cuts are fairly common injuries at the workplace and in auto collisions. At work, they can be as simple as a paper cut or as severe as losing a finger or worse from a power saw. Many of the workplace-related cuts are due to inadequate safety measures.

In a car accident, the cuts are commonly from items moving around inside the car or perhaps broken glass, if there is any.

Falling Objects

It is not unusual for workers to get injured due to objects falling on them. While your first instinct may be that this is limited to warehouses and stores, any workplace that stores some items high carries a risk.

If an object falls at full force, it can cause injuries, from small bruises to severe injuries requiring the attention of an orthopedic doctor.

Head Injuries

Head injuries are particularly common in car accidents. In the case of traumatic brain injuries or other serious head injuries, there can be significant problems, including headaches and sleeping difficulties.

Moving Machinery

Moving machinery can also cause a range of injuries in the workplace. Some injuries occur from a person getting caught in the machinery. In contrast, others occur if a moving part gets loose and goes flying.

Muscle Sprains and Strains

 It is very common for workplace injuries to feature strained muscles. We will discuss neck strains in further detail, but back strains are also incredibly common, as are other types of strains. Most of the time, muscle sprains and strains are the results of lifting heavy objects at work. They can also be the result of sitting at a desk all day long without moving much.

Neck Strains

Neck strains at work can come from repetitive motion injuries, such as sitting at a desk every day and working on a computer. This particular cause seems to be increasing with more people working from home. Also, many people do not invest in ergonomic office equipment or worry about maintaining proper posture.

Sudden movements or impact events can also lead to neck strains. At work, for example, employees may slip and fall and injure their neck in the process. In a car accident, whiplash is a common example, as the sudden movement associated with the collision takes its toll on your neck.

Reaction Injuries

Reaction injuries refer to the injuries that happen if you trip or slip but do not fall. They can still lead to muscle injuries and other body trauma despite you not falling.

Repetitive Strain Injury

We’ve already touched on repetitive strain injury as part of some of the other injuries. This is the result of repeating a motion numerous times. Repetitive strain injuries are growing in frequency over the years, and many employers still do not take them seriously. This type of injury can result from any kind of repetitive motion, from moving objects to typing. Do not overlook the risks, as overexertion, including repetitive motions and lifting or lowering, accounts for 33.54% of workplace injuries.

Rotator Cuff Tears

This is another type of injury that is common from repetitive use while working. It also happens regularly if you fall and have your arm outstretched as you do so.

A tear on the rotator cuff can be incredibly debilitating, as it makes the most basic tasks debilitating and painful.

Shoulder Injuries

Work-related shoulder injuries are particularly common after performing heavy lifting or regularly moving objects. It can also happen from sudden unexpected trauma, whether at work or in a car accident.

Shoulder injuries can result in pain and lack of mobility. Patients need immediate care to help prevent future problems and complications.

Spinal Trauma

Slipping at work can lead to a slipped or herniated disc, either of which involves compression of the nerves leading to your spine, along with inflammation. Other potential spinal traumas from falling at work include fractured vertebrae and pinched nerves.

Spinal trauma can also be a repetitive injury at work, such as sore back muscles.

Because of the wide degrees of severity of spinal trauma, there is a correspondingly wide range of treatment methods, and your orthopedist can suggest the best one.

Spinal trauma is also fairly common among car accident injuries. It can include herniated discs, which is when the vertebrae in the spine shift, leading to pain and reduced mobility, along with other potential complications.

Injuries From Walking Into Objects

A surprising number of workplace injuries come from people walking into things, such as tables, chairs, walls, and cabinets. This most commonly leads to injuries to the feet, neck, knees, and head, although other injuries can also occur.

Luckily, due to the low speeds involved, this type of injury is frequently less severe than others on the list. However, walking into an object can lead to worse injuries in the right set of circumstances. For example, walking into a sharp object can lead to a cut, or walking into an unstable item can cause it to tip over or something heavy to fall off it.


How an Orthopedist Can Help

An experienced orthopedist is likely to have the best selection of treatment options to assist with your condition. Ideally, you will want to choose a doctor with experience, and you may be able to get a referral from your general practitioner or chiropractor. If you opt for an orthopedist who specializes in workers’ compensation or car accident trauma, then they are also likely to be familiar with the process of making claims, including the documentation you will need from them.

The following are some of the ways that an orthopedist can help, along with why you should visit one after a workplace injury or a car accident.

Diagnostic Services

 An orthopedic doctor can begin by using multiple methods to diagnose your injuries, including a joint X-ray (an arthrogram), bone scans, a CT scan, an MRI, X-rays, and discographies.

Offering a Range of Treatments

Orthopedists can offer a range of treatment options, including injections into the area that is in pain. This can be in corticosteroid injections into the ligaments, tendons, or joints or around the spine following an injury. In the case of arthritis pain, they may also inject hyaluronic acid. Other injections include steroid injections in the knee or bursa, cervical or lumbar epidural injections, and facet joint injections.

Orthopedic surgeons also offer fluid drainage, extracorporeal shock wave therapy, bracing or casting, joint manipulation, and lumbar sympathetic blocks, none of which require surgery.

There are also numerous surgeries that orthopedists can perform to help, including repairing torn tendons and ligaments, ligament reconstruction, fracture care, knee cartilage surgery, cartilage resurfacing or repair, hammertoe repair, amputation, arthroscopic surgeries, and arthroplasties. Orthopedists can also opt to do spine surgeries, including spinal fusions, laminectomies, foraminotomies, and diskectomies. Soft tissue repair may also require surgery, as may joint replacement.

Thanks to newer technologies, orthopedics may also use bone-fusing protein and bone graft substitutes, perform minimally invasive surgery, and offer advanced external fixation.

Determining If Surgery Is Necessary

One of the many ways orthopedic doctors help is by confirming whether or not you need surgery. Most orthopedists suggest non-surgical alternatives first and only recommend surgery when those do not work. They may also suggest surgery if your injury is unlikely to get better without surgery.

Healing Disc Herniation

 Orthopedists usually help by repairing herniated discs following a car crash.

Repairing Broken Bones

An orthopedic doctor can assist with repairing broken bones, whether they get broken at work, in a car accident, or another situation. Following car accidents, some of the more common broken bones that orthopedists treat include broken hips, fractured or broken hands or fingers from protecting the face, and fractured or broken ribs or clavicles from the seat restraint or airbag.

Among the various broken bones, shoulders are one of those that orthopedists see injured more often. In some cases, you may need an orthopedic surgeon to stabilize the shoulder.

Repairing Torn ACLs or MCLs

Some people tear their ACL or MCL during a collision due to a twisting motion. This is yet another area in which orthopedists can provide treatment.

Treating Underlying Conditions That the Injury Worsened

It is also possible for trauma like an injury at work or a car accident to worsen existing degenerative diseases, even if they previously only had minimal symptoms. Some of these conditions include tendonitis, infections following fractures, hip bursitis, sciatica, spinal stenosis, and arthritis.

Remember that for the best chances of a quick recovery, you should see an orthopedist as soon as possible after your car or workplace accident.

Call (800) 897-8440 today to find an experienced orthopedic specialist near and get on your way to recovery.


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