Workers injured on the job can suffer devastating injuries leading to chronic pain. Without adequate pain management, injured workers are often unable to return to work or participate in daily life activities. Opioid medications such as Percocet or Vicodin are frequently prescribed to help deal with pain symptoms.
As awareness of the opioid addiction crisis continues to grow, many injured workers and their doctors are looking for alternative ways to treat their chronic pain.
The use of prescription drugs can be an effective way to treat persistent pain in many circumstances. Over 25 percent of Workers’ Compensation drug claim costs are attributed to opioid pain medication. For many patients the addictive nature of opioids creates a significant health risk.
On average, 60 people each day overdose on opioid pain medication. Workers most at risk for overdose while taking prescription opioid medications include those who take the drug for extended periods, use more than one form of opioid medicine, mix the drugs with alcohol, or have other medical conditions such as sleep apnea, heart failure, obesity, or chronic respiratory symptoms. Other individuals develop tolerances or dependence on their opioid prescriptions, resulting in the need for alternative pain management options.
In an effort to avoid the use of opioid prescriptions, injured workers may employ a wide variety of medical and holistic treatments to help with their chronic pain.
Other methods used to treat chronic pain include:
- Physical therapy
- Spinal cord stimulators or injections
- Chiropractic techniques
- Spinal cord manipulation
- Massage therapy
- Vitamin supplements
Many of these alternative pain handling methods are used in concert to create a broad pain management plan.
Many experts believe addressing the emotional component of pain is an essential part of helping injured workers. Persistent pain can cause fear and stress, which can immobilize an injured person’s ability to function.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) frequently is used for treating chronic pain. CBT therapists focus on changing thinking and behavior patterns by using a practical problem-solving approach. Most CBT occurs over a short period of time and can be taught through classes or videos.
Mental health professionals can provide injured workers with stress reduction tools during therapy sessions. In addition to individual psychological treatment, workers often benefit from behavioral modification, relaxation, or mindfulness training programs. These educate injured workers on ways to handle the pain through their own actions.
Move Towards Alternative Treatments
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently released revised Chronic Pain Guidelines that recommend limited prescribing of opioids to treat chronic pain. Under the guidelines, providers are encouraged to avoid prescribing any drug with a morphine equivalent dose (MED) exceeding 90.
As medical providers move towards compliance with the CDC recommendations, the need for alternative pain management treatments will continue to grow.
The costs of pain management treatment can be overwhelming for injured workers. Many workers are entitled to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits for their work-related injuries. Workers’ Compensation can help pay for the costs of pain management, medical treatment, rehabilitation, prescription drugs, and lost wages.
Contact an experienced Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer for assistance in determining if you are eligible to receive Workers’ Compensation for your injuries.
Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Represent Injured Workers
Individuals injured at work may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. At Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. our experienced Columbia Workers’ Compensation lawyers assist injured workers throughout South Carolina. To arrange a free consultation today, call us at 803-929-3600 or 866-881-8623 or submit an online inquiry form.
From our six office locations we serve clients across the state, including Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the areas of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.