You knew the moment it happened that your neck injury was serious. You turned the wrong way, felt a snap--and collapsed from the pain. You don’t know if anything’s broken, but you know you can’t move your head in any direction—and that’s a vital aspect of your construction job. So how can you tell when—or if—you’ll be able to go back to work?
How Can I Tell How Long I’ll Be Unable to Work After a Neck Injury?
Your doctor will ultimately be the one who decides when and if you will return to work. Always seek medical attention when you have an on-the-job neck injury, even if you assume it’s “just a twinge” or “nothing serious.” Even the slightest neck injury can have serious complications if it is allowed to progress untreated.
Depending on the level of your injury, your doctor may recommend:
- Rest – The first step toward treating a neck injury is immobility. You may have to take painkillers for a few days to allow the muscles in your neck to relax and recover, need a neck brace to keep your head still, or sleep on a special pillow to avoid further injury.
- Physical therapy – If you have suffered an injury to the muscles and ligaments in your neck (also called a soft tissue injury), you may need physical therapy to strengthen the muscles. You may also receive pain medication injections to help relieve headaches and pain as you heal.
- Surgery – If your injury involved the vertebrae or spinal cord, you may need surgery to restore mobility. Doctors will often suggest surgery if a patient experiences numbness or tingling in his arms and legs, which can indicates a spinal disc pressing on a nerve. Surgery may also be required to relieve extreme pain or other forms of nerve damage often seen in herniated disc injuries, compression fractures, or degenerative disc disease.
How Will You Be Compensated For Your Neck Injury?
If you are receiving medical care and are unable to return to work after an on-the-job injury, your employer will be liable for paying temporary disability benefits. When medical care is over, your temporary disability benefits will end, but you may then be entitled to a monetary award for your injury. This is called a Permanent Disability Award. Download our FREE book, What the Injured Worker Needs to Know, or fill out the short contact box on this page to ask us any additional questions you may have about your case.