Workers’ compensation back and neck injuries often cause herniated discs. Many people have difficulty getting medical treatment or other workers compensation benefits for these injuries.
This article provides information about a few different workers compensation issues for herniated discs:
- Common reasons workers compensation insurance companies deny claims for herniated discs
- Common medical treatments covered by workers compensation for herniated discs
- Other workers compensation benefits available for herniated discs
Before moving further, you should know that doctors often use other words to refer to herniated discs. Doctors may refer to them as a pinched nerve, a bulging disc, or a slipped disc. You might also hear your doctor talk about degenerative disc disease.
Pinched nerve, bulging disc, slipped disc, and degenerative disc disease all mean roughly the same thing. While this article talks in terms of herniated discs, you could use the information in it for any of these conditions.
What is a herniated disc?
Discs are part of your spine. You also have vertebrae that make up your spine as well. You have discs between each set of vertebrae.
The video below shows spinal column anatomy. It focuses on discs. It specifically discusses what a herniated disc is and why a herniated disc may cause pain, numbness, or tingling.
Why do insurance companies deny herniated disc injuries?
Insurance companies often partially or totally deny back or neck injuries. Many people who suffer a work injury face one of these two situations:
- They hurt their back or neck at work. The workers compensation insurance company denies their claim on the grounds that they had a preexisting back or neck condition
- The insurance company accepts their workers compensation case for their back or neck injury. Their authorized treating physician recommends some medical treatment for the herniated disc. The workers compensation insurance company refuses to approve the medical treatment by claiming that the work injury did not cause the need for the medical treatment.
Insurance companies may deny your claim because of the cost associated with paying benefits. As I discuss more below, herniated discs may cause you to need expensive medical treatment. You may also miss significant time from work and end up with a permanent partial disability rating. The insurance company may hope they can save money by denying your claims.
Insurance companies will often blame your problem on a preexisting condition. Sometimes, this happens even when you have never had any medical treatment on your back or neck. Even if you have had treatment for a preexisting condition, you should know that Georgia law covers aggravations of preexisting conditions.
These denials by insurance companies cause a lot of frustration. Most people find it difficult to get the treatment they need when the workers compensation insurance company denies their claim or denies specific medical treatment. There are solutions to these problems.
What common medical treatment does workers compensation cover for herniated discs?
These types of injuries often cause people pain in their necks or back. Many people often have pain, numbness, and/or tingling that goes into their legs or arms as well. These symptoms often make it impossible to do your job. They also affect what you can in your free time.
Doctors can offer treatments that help relieve pain and fix the problem. Some of the common treatments include:
- Prescription medication
- Physical therapy
- Epidural steroid injections
You need to discuss your condition with your doctor to make sure you get the best medical treatment. If you want to know more about why it is important to talk to the doctor about your case, read this article.
As far as medical treatment, the workers compensation insurance company generally has to cover medical treatment you need as a result of your injury. Georgia’s laws and rules do limit the doctors with whom you can treat. You need to make sure you understand those rules so the insurance company cannot avoid paying for treatment. You also need to know that there are deadlines on how long the insurance company has to pay for medical treatment.
What other workers compensation benefits can I receive for herniated discs?
Herniated discs often cause you to miss work. Georgia’s workers compensation law entitles you to temporary total disability benefits when your injury makes you unable to work.
Some injuries keep you out of work for a short time. More severe herniated disc injuries cause permanent limitations. These injuries may qualify for a catastrophic designation.
Most herniated disc injuries also qualify for permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits. The insurance company pays these benefits based on a rating from your treating physician.