Getting workers’ compensation for a back/spinal injury can be a daunting and overwhelming task. There are plenty of questions, and we have answers from both medical and legal professionals. Anyone can be affected by back pain at work.
  • Truck drivers
  • Manual laborers
  • Construction workers
  • Hairstylists
  • Automotive technicians
  • Teachers
  • Healthcare workers
  • Foodservice workers
  • Hospitality workers
  • Office workers
Work-related back injuries can be prevented by paying attention to posture, taking standing/moving breaks, stretching out, and lifting properly. However, if back pain at work stems from a work injury individuals could be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.  
11860 Vista Del Sol, Ste. 128 Workers’ Compensation for Back Injuries Overview

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation is an insurance program that helps with and provides benefits and medical care for workers that have been injured or fallen ill resulting directly from their job. This means if an individual is injured at work, employers have negotiated to free themselves of a majority of the liability by paying for the treatment and recovery. Companies that employ five-hundred or more are able to manage their own workers’ compensation program. However, most workers’ compensation programs are managed by state governments. Every state has its own workers’ compensation program that employers pay into. The federal government handles the federal workers’ compensation program for federal employees. The program is funded by the employer with the cost not affecting an individual’s paycheck.

Workers’ Compensation Coverage

Compensation programs are different throughout the country. Typically workers’ compensation pays for:
  • Initial emergency department
  • Urgent care visit
  • Diagnostic testing recommended by the emergency department
  • Follow-up physician
  • Surgical intervention
  • Rehabilitation
Under workers’ comp back injury treatment/s are completely covered, meaning an individual does not have to meet a deductible or pay premiums, copayments, or coinsurance. Individuals continue to receive regular health insurance benefits from the employer. This could require a deductible, premiums, copays, and coinsurance. This is for the treatment of other health issues while receiving workers’ compensation care. If an individual is unable to work because of a workers’ comp back injury, a worker can expect to be paid a base salary after taxes while being treated. Those whose salary is dependent on overtime creates a disadvantage. Workers’ compensation can mean a pay cut for these individuals. Workers’ comp pay depends on the state. Usually, there is a wage rate set by the state.

High Risk for Back Injury on the Job

Employees that are involved in physical labor like construction, factory work, and healthcare work have a higher risk of getting a back injury on the job. These injuries are often the result of:
  • Improper lifting techniques
  • Repetitively turning
  • Twisting while lifting
  • Holding something heavy
  • Lifting heavy objects above the head
  • Using the back muscles instead of the hips and legs when lifting bending of the knees and bringing heavy objects close to the core
Truck drivers also have a higher risk of back injuries. Sitting for long periods and reduced physical activity contributes to the back muscles losing their strength, endurance, and cardiovascular ability. Then when unloading the cargo the stress on the spine is doubled.  
11860 Vista Del Sol, Ste. 128 Workers’ Compensation for Back Injuries Overview

Injury Report

A back injury should be reported to the supervisor or the company’s human resources department. Depending on the state, there is a statute of limitations to file an injury claim. For example, an individual has one year from the date of injury to file a workers’ compensation claim with the supervisor or human resources department. However, it is best to report the injury and seek medical attention as soon as possible after being injured at work. The longer the wait, the more the employer could dispute the legal validity of a workers’ compensation claim.

Injury Qualification

If injured at work, assume the injury will be covered by workers’ compensation. However, it is not always completely clear. An individual could be injured at a work-related cookout or working from home and trip down the stairs. These are gray areas and are very new as more people working from home. These kinds of workers’ comp claims are now starting to be seen. Whatever the event, report injury/s to the employer. If the situation is untraditional, there could be some back and forth with the employer.

Spine Specialist Referal

To receive work comp treatment patients with back injuries will be referred to an occupational therapy clinic. An occupational therapist or clinic will set up the treatment. This could include:
  • Chiropractic
  • Medication
  • Physical therapy
  • Hydrotherapy
  • MRI
  • CT scan
  • X-rays
For many that could be enough to get them back to work. If the initial treatments fail an individual could be referred to a spine specialist to set up an optimal treatment plan. A spine specialist could recommend additional therapy, medication, diagnostic imaging, spinal injections, or surgery. Occupational therapy usually goes on for four to six weeks before the individual is referred to a spine specialist. This all depends on the situation. Individuals can be referred immediately for specific spinal treatment or be told to wait for a specific time. It all depends on the medical situation.

Employer and the Spine Specialist

In most states, employers will request a copy of the treatment plan and spine surgeon’s clinical notes written about the case during office or telemedicine appointments. Doctors have to provide clinic notes and treatment plans to the human resources departments along with the workers’ compensation insurance carrier. Consistent, active communication goes on between the primary doctor, the company’s human resources department, and the insurance carrier. Note that workers’ compensation is exempt from HIPAA privacy regulations. Employers and the workers’ compensation insurance carrier have access to medical records related to the back injury. But medical information unrelated to the injury is restricted.

Obtaining Workers’ Compensation From a Doctor

Generally, no. Obtaining Workers’ comp is between the individual and their employer, not the doctor. Sometimes doctors are asked to determine if an individual’s injury/s are work-related. This involves going through medical records but these requests are rare.  

Benefits Duration

It depends on the case and where an individual lives. Every state is its own system. In some states, treatment can be ongoing for as long as treatment is needed and is consistent. What is highly recommended is meeting with a workers’ compensation attorney in your state when beginning the process to learn your rights and the process. This can help in preventing issues from popping up like an employer pressuring a worker to come back before a doctor has cleared them to return.

Making Most of Workers’ Comp

Keep appointments and be compliant with the doctor’s treatment plan and recommendations. Be transparent with the doctor. Not telling them exactly what is happening will not help in their recovery. If there is an improvement from the treatment/s fantastic, but if there are minimal to no improvements be as descriptive as possible about what is happening and what does work. The goal is to work with a clinical team that can get an individual better back to work and normal activities.

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The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, and sensitive health issues and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate and support directly or indirectly our clinical scope of practice.* Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We also make copies of supporting research studies available to the board and or the public upon request. We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation as to how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900. The provider(s) Licensed in Texas& New Mexico*

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The information herein on "Workers’ Compensation for Back Injuries Overview" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

Blog Information & Scope Discussions

Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from various disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and directly or indirectly support our clinical scope of practice.*

Our office has reasonably attempted to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.

We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez, DC, or contact us at 915-850-0900.

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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN*, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*


Licensed as a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) in Texas & New Mexico*
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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN* CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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Dr. Alex Jimenez
Specialties: Stopping the PAIN! We Specialize in Treating Severe Sciatica, Neck-Back Pain, Whiplash, Headaches, Knee Injuries, Sports Injuries, Dizziness, Poor Sleep, Arthritis. We use advanced proven therapies focused on optimal Mobility, Posture Control, Deep Health Instruction, Integrative & Functional Medicine, Functional Fitness, Chronic Degenerative Disorder Treatment Protocols, and Structural Conditioning. We also integrate Wellness Nutrition, Wellness Detoxification Protocols and Functional Medicine for chronic musculoskeletal disorders. We use effective "Patient Focused Diet Plans", Specialized Chiropractic Techniques, Mobility-Agility Training, Cross-Fit Protocols, and the Premier "PUSH Functional Fitness System" to treat patients suffering from various injuries and health problems. Ultimately, I am here to serve my patients and community as a Chiropractor passionately restoring functional life and facilitating living through increased mobility. Purpose & Passions: I am a Doctor of Chiropractic specializing in progressive cutting-edge therapies and functional rehabilitation procedures focused on clinical physiology, total health, functional strength training, functional medicine, and complete conditioning. We focus on restoring normal body functions after neck, back, spinal and soft tissue injuries. We use Specialized Chiropractic Protocols, Wellness Programs, Functional & Integrative Nutrition, Agility & Mobility Fitness Training and Cross-Fit Rehabilitation Systems for all ages. As an extension to dynamic rehabilitation, we too offer our patients, disabled veterans, athletes, young and elder a diverse portfolio of strength equipment, high-performance exercises and advanced agility treatment options. We have teamed up with the cities' premier doctors, therapist and trainers in order to provide high-level competitive athletes the options to push themselves to their highest abilities within our facilities. We've been blessed to use our methods with thousands of El Pasoans over the last 3 decades allowing us to restore our patients' health and fitness while implementing researched non-surgical methods and functional wellness programs. Our programs are natural and use the body's ability to achieve specific measured goals, rather than introducing harmful chemicals, controversial hormone replacement, un-wanted surgeries, or addictive drugs. We want you to live a functional life that is fulfilled with more energy, a positive attitude, better sleep, and less pain. Our goal is to ultimately empower our patients to maintain the healthiest way of living. With a bit of work, we can achieve optimal health together, no matter the age, ability or disability.