Saturday, March 26, 2011

Good News About Chronic Back Pain: Research Study Shows that Many People Do Recover

By far the most common work-related injuries we see in our Minnesota workers’ compensation law practice are back injuries. Unfortunately, back injuries are probably also one of the most disputed types of injuries.

Some common reasons for the workers’ compensation insurance company to deny your claim include a gap of time between the time your back pain develops, and the time you break down and seek medical care, suggestion that you have a pre-existing condition, suggesting that your injury occurred outside the workplace, denying on the basis that if you did sustain a back injury, it was just a temporary strain, and that your injury developed over time as opposed to developing as a result of a specific incident.

The good news is, back pain is not necessarily a permanent condition. I ran across an article on WebMD about a research study done in Australia on 973 people who reported the onset of low back pain.

The low back pain became chronic, meaning that it lasted for at least three months, among 259 of the 973 patients, or approximately 27%. Of those patients, almost half, or 47%, had recovered completely within a year.

Of all the people in the study, within nine months, 35% had recovered completely, and within a year 42% had recovered completely.

Popular opinion has been that once back pain becomes chronic, recovery is unlikely. What this study shows is that a large portion of chronic back pain sufferers did in fact recover completely within a year.

Interestingly, the study also indicated that the patients who didn't recover from their back pain within a year were more likely to have taken sick leave for back pain in the past, to have had higher levels of disability or intense back pain when their back pain began, to have lower levels of education, to consider themselves at high risk of persistent pain, and to be from another country.

While the study does provide evidence that people with chronic back pain can and do in fact recover, the study did not evaluate the effectiveness of the various treatments received by the patients participating in the study. So, the question as to which type of treatment works best to heal low back pain remains to be determined.

If you’ve suffered a work-related back injury, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, including medical expense benefits, wage loss benefits, permanent partial disability benefits, and rehabilitation benefits. For a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about your Minnesota workers’ compensation rights, call us at 877-746-5680, or click here to send us an email.

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