How a Pain Management Doctor Treats Neck and Lower Back Pain After a Work-Related Injury
Visit our clinic in Brooklyn to ease your pain and start living a more comfortable life. Call us today at 718-646-1911 to schedule an appointment.
Work-related injuries are far more common than most people realize. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that, in 2020 alone, private businesses saw 2.7 million non-fatal employee accidents. While some workers heal quickly from their injuries and find fast pain relief, many others experience neck and lower back pain that lasts for years.
Those suffering from pain as a result of a work-related injury often turn to prescribed pharmaceuticals to ease their struggles. Unfortunately, using opioids as a form of pain management can lead to misuse, abuse, and addiction. Further, pain medications typically mask short-term pain rather than address long-term concerns.
With aims to ease chronic pain and prevent the overuse of opioids, workers’ compensation pain management specialists have several treatment methods for injured employees. Contact our team at Metro Healthcare Partners to learn more or schedule a consultation.
As your trusted source of quality pain management in Brooklyn, our doctors accept most insurance plans, including workers’ compensation, no-fault, and PIP (personal injury protection), and same-day appointments may be available.
Defining Work-Related Injuries
We often think of a work-related injury as a very apparent accident. While incidents such as slipping and falling, dropping something heavy on your foot, and spraining a ligament certainly qualify as workplace accidents, so do less obvious injuries. Employees can suffer from strains and overexertion that lead to significant chronic neck and lower back pain.
As a definition, a work-related injury is any physical or mental injury that occurs during the course of work. This means that work-related accidents don’t need to happen on the business’s premises. Those working off company grounds or in a home office can still suffer work-related injuries.
What to Do if You Suffer a Work-Related Neck or Back Injury
Work-related injuries that cause neck and lower back pain are not always immediately apparent. Adrenaline, especially for employees engaged in physical activities, can mask the pain for several hours. That’s why it is imperative to seek medical attention as soon as your body indicates a problem.
The sooner a pain management doctor can diagnose your injury, the better. Your doctor can conduct a physical examination and suggest the best treatment methods for your body. Quick medical attention can help prevent last injuries and a lifetime of chronic pain.
You may also have concerns about receiving fair workers’ compensation following your work-related neck or lower back injury. While some pain management doctors have experience with workers’ compensation attorneys, others do not. During your visit to the medical clinic, talk to your doctor and decide whether you need to find your own workers’ compensation attorney.
Types of Pain Management Treatment for Work-Related Injury
Pain management doctors use numerous types of treatment for work-related neck and lower back injuries. The right treatment method for you will depend on several factors, including the location and severity of your injury, how your body responds to pain and treatment, and your personal preferences. You can combine some types of treatment with others to create a more comprehensive recovery plan and improve your quality of life.
Nerve Root Block
Though pain originates in an injured body part, it can travel through nerves and affect other areas of the body. Pain management doctors can use nerve root blocks to prevent pain signals from spreading. They inject a steroid, anesthetic, anti-inflammatory drug, or a combination into specific nerves or the location where the nerve root exits.
Nerve root block is useful for diagnosing the location of the injury and the starting point of neck and lower back pain, but it is also effective for managing and treating the pain. While it may not be the initial recommendation, your pain management doctor may move to nerve root block if physical therapy, medicine, and other nonsurgical methods are unsuccessful.
Epidural Steroid Injection
Following a work-related injury, you may have inflammation that causes neck and lower back pain. Epidural steroid injections help relieve the inflammation and ease the pain. During an epidural steroid injection, your pain management doctor injects medicine, such as a steroid, anesthetic, or anti-inflammatory drug, into an area surrounding your spinal cord.
The downside of epidural steroid injections is that, typically, they tend to be temporary solutions for neck and lower back pain. They can help relieve immediate pain, but you’ll likely need another treatment method to ease long-term issues.
Spinal Cord Stimulation
Chronic pain is a common issue for those who suffer work-related neck and lower back injuries. Often, constant nerve activity sends pain sensations to the brain and amplifies the severity of the chronic pain.
Your pain management doctor may recommend spinal cord stimulation to treat chronic pain. During this procedure, a medical team surgically implants a small device near your spine. The device then generates electrical impulses that interfere with and block nerve activity and subsequent pain messages.
Radiofrequency ablation involves the use of electrical currents to heat and destroys a specific area of nerve tissue within a patient’s body. It’s a treatment method that can be effective in relieving chronic pain in both the lower back and neck. While radiofrequency ablation typically provides somewhat temporary pain relief, some patients experience long-term benefits.
Implantable Opioid Infusion Pumps
Implantable opioid infusion pumps are small devices that a medical team can surgically implant near your spinal cord. After a successful procedure, the pumps send opioid-based medication into the spinal cord to help treat chronic back pain.
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy
Platelet-rich plasma therapy can assist your body in healing from the neck and lower back pain directly caused by work-related injuries. During this procedure, pain management doctors take a blood sample and separate platelets using a centrifuge. They then inject it into the injured area of your body, such as the cartilage or tendon.
Though it may take a few weeks for you to feel the positive effects of PRP therapy, they can be long-lasting. The procedure helps ease pain and increase your range of motion to give you more physical stability and comfort throughout your daily life.
While orthopedic treatment can help repair fractures, tears, and broken bones, it’s also an effective method for addressing strains, nerve pain, and more severe work-related injuries that cause neck and lower back issues. Such injuries might occur from a slip and fall in the workplace, but they can also develop due to poor posture and non-ergonomic work equipment at your desk or in your home office.
Orthopedic treatment is often expensive, so you may want to try other methods when possible. Your pain management doctor can inform you whether orthopedic surgery is necessary to address your injuries.
Chiropractic therapy can be beneficial for those suffering from neck and lower back pain. Chiropractors use specialized techniques to adjust the spinal vertebrae, focusing on offering patients better stability and freedom of movement. The same chiropractic treatment that improves range of motion can relieve pain by reducing pain sensor irritation.
Patients can continue to receive chiropractic care to prevent stiffness and neck or lower back pain. Continued treatment can have lasting positive effects on the body, such as straightening ligament fibers to help repair scar tissue and increase the fibers’ strength and resistance to pain.
Physical therapy is often an effective treatment method for a wide variety of work-related neck and lower back injuries. Some patients undergo physical therapy soon after their injuries to increase strength and mobility while preventing chronic pain development. Others have limited motion following a workplace accident and instead engage in physical therapy as a means of rehabilitating the body.
Physical therapy has numerous benefits that go beyond bodily strength and mobility. It can also increase patients’ balance, help prevent future injuries, and improve overall physical health. Additionally, patients can often combine physical therapy with another form of treatment, such as chiropractic therapy, for a more comprehensive treatment plan.
Alternative Treatment Options
Alternative treatment options can be effective for treating chronic neck and lower back pain caused by work-related injuries. Though the term “alternative” can make some people uneasy, these options are often common practices, such as weekly massages, simple changes in diet, or even mental care.
Patients can combine alternative treatment with their primary pain management treatment, perhaps to address a common symptom that they believe needs additional attention. Consult your pain management doctor before seeking alternative treatment options to ensure they are safe.
Though to what extent is still up for debate, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health states that acupuncture is an effective treatment for neck and lower back pain, according to 12 studies from 2018 consisting of over 8,000 participants. Many patients undergo continued acupuncture to help relieve pain and daily stress.
Massages can have similar effects to acupuncture. A professional masseuse can help relax the body, ease stress, improve mobility and stability, and relieve some chronic pain. Massages typically offer temporary pain relief, but continued visits may help loosen and strengthen muscles and ligaments and, in turn, provide long-term physical benefits.
Lifestyle and Dietary Changes
Some work-related injuries that cause neck and lower back pain may require patients to make lifestyle changes. Minor alterations in a daily routine can make significant improvements in terms of physical pain relief. These lifestyle changes may take place at home, work, or both.
Similarly, dietary changes can drastically improve physical health and feelings of pain. Weight loss can contribute to increased physical strength, mobility, and stability. Less significant dietary changes, such as eating plant-based foods while decreasing daily fat intake, can help reduce pain factors like inflammation.
As we briefly mentioned, poor posture and work equipment often contribute to the development of neck and lower back strain and pain. Those sitting in desk chairs and working on a computer for several hours of the day can damage their vertebral discs and muscles. A new workstation, whether it’s a more comfortable chair or a convertible sitting/standing setup, might help prevent future work-related injuries and ease current chronic pain.
Exercise and Relaxation
Different types of neck and lower back injuries require different responses. Typically, rest and relaxation are the first steps following a serious and sudden work-related injury. Those with chronic pain, however, may benefit from exercise, as consistent movement promotes better mobility and pain relief.
Ice and Heat
Ice and heat are often reliable for immediate pain relief after a work-related injury. Pain management doctors generally recommend icing on and off in 20 to 30-minute intervals for 48 hours following the injury, then applying heat to the affected body part. The ice helps reduce swelling and irritation, and the heat helps the body begin rehabilitation.
Proper back support doesn’t just provide additional comfort while sitting down; it can also help correct posture and relieve pressure from your spine. Consider using a back support pillow whenever you’re seated, whether it’s in the car, at work, or at home.
Finding an effective pain management treatment after a work-related injury can be challenging. It may take time, effort, and several attempts until you find the ideal treatment plan for your body, and that can be frustrating. During this time, mind-body therapy may be helpful for increasing mental resilience and guiding you through the struggle of living with neck and lower back pain.
Meditation, visualization, and other practices can help patients be more at peace and make the road to physical recovery less difficult.
Counseling and Support
A more severe work-related injury can significantly alter a person’s life. They may have to give up certain hobbies and activities, treatment can be costly, and numerous other factors can adversely affect quality of life. At times, these sudden changes can lead to depression and other mental and emotional challenges.
Following a severe injury, counseling and support can help the victim maintain a positive outlook on life and keep them in a good mental headspace. Counseling can provide hope, and support groups help bring such people together and show them they’re not alone.
Medical Specialist Referrals
Though pain management doctors are experienced and well-equipped to address various work-related injuries that cause neck and lower back pain, some situations require additional assistance from medical specialists. When such is the case, your pain management doctor may be able to refer you to trusted specialists in the pain management and workers’ compensation fields. Some types of medical specialists you may need include neurologists, surgeons, osteopathic doctors, and radiologists.
Finding a Quality Pain Management Clinic: Factors to Consider
So you’ve suffered a work-related injury and visited your doctor for medical attention. Now, how do you go about finding a quality pain management clinic?
At times, your primary care physician may work closely with a pain management doctor or be able to refer you to a reliable clinic. At other times, you might need to do your own research and find a pain management clinic that suits your needs. If that’s the case, you must consider a few factors.
First, you’ll likely want to narrow your search to your area so that the clinic is easily accessible. Then, you should do some research and ensure the clinic and its medical professionals have sufficient experience with work-related injuries, neck and lower back pain, and your specific conditions. Finally, inquire about the clinic’s treatment options and see if they offer what you need.
Contact Your Trusted Workers’ Compensation Doctor in New York Today
Pain after an accident injury at work can create a challenging road to recovery. Pain management doctors can help relieve your pain and struggles and provide a more comfortable life by recommending effective treatment for work-related injuries. A trusted workers’ compensation doctor in New York knows numerous methods to assist you physically, mentally, and financially so that you can ease back into work and life.
Call us at Metro Healthcare Partners at 718-646-1911 to schedule an appointment and start treating your neck and lower back pain today.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Neck and Lower Back Pain Related?
Neck and lower back pain are often related. The neck is part of the spine, meaning that many injuries that cause lower back pain also affect the neck or cervical spine.
What Can a Neurologist Do for Neck Pain?
A neurologist can provide a physical examination of the neck to discover the causes of pain symptoms. They can also use EMG testing to assess nerve injuries in the neck and diagnose the short and long-term severity.
What Kind of Neck Pain and Injury Requires Surgery?
Cervical degeneration, which causes neck pain, can lead to several conditions that may require surgery. Such conditions include myelopathy, spinal cord dysfunction, and radiculopathy, or the dysfunction of nerves to the neck.
What Medications Can Help Treat Neck and Lower Back Pain After an Injury?
After an injury, anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen or Mobic, can help treat neck and lower back pain by reducing swelling and tissue inflammation.