Treatment for cervical work related injuries ranges from mere rest to cervical fusion surgery. Usually, medical providers start with the easiest and cheapest treatment, such as physical therapy and medications. If that treatment does not help, stronger pain medicines might be prescribed, along with injections and steroids. The medical provider may also order expensive tests, such as CT scans, MRI’s myelograms and EMG’s. If there is a herniated disc, several types of surgery can occur, depending on the degree of the herniation and the number of discs injured. If multiple discs are injured, the medical provider may suggest a fusion surgery. This may mean several discs are secured by a metal rod to relieve pressure on the nerves. Generally, workers’ compensation insurance carriers are hesitant to pay for more expensive treatment, which can also require them to pay more money in temporary total disability benefits and permanent disability.
A cervical injury can also result in permanent restrictions that could prevent an injured worker form being able to continue in their jobs.
Permanent disability impairment ratings for a cervical injury depend on the severity of the injury, treatment and recovery. For a simple strain that continues to bother the injured worker, there may be only a few percentages of impairment assigned. For someone that has undergone a cervical fusion, the impairment percent can be higher than 25% to the whole person.
A cervical fusion can also cause problems with the discs above and below the fusion. This may result in additional fusions of the other discs, and could also be compensable by workers compensation. This means there is a chance to reopen the claim for a subsequent surgery and an increased impairment rating.
Cervical injuries that cause permanent problems need to be thoroughly discussed with the treating physician to determine the best treatment. Likewise, they should be discussed as soon as possible with an attorney to make sure you get the right treatment and monetary benefits