My primary hope for all my clients is that they recover completely from their work injuries. Sometimes this happens, but often injured workers with serious injuries do not recover one hundred percent of function.
In fact, some people end up with chronic pain from their work injuries. As a result of this chronic pain, they may require treatment by a doctor who specializes in pain management.
What medical treatment does a pain management doctor provide?
A doctor specializing in pain management will usually offer a combination of two types of treatment in a workers compensation case. One of those treatments is pain management with medications. The other type of treatment is interventional pain management.
Pain management with medications will involve some combination of various prescription medications to provide the injured worker with the best pain relief and function with the least amount of side effects. It could include prescription of some of the following types of medications:
- Non-narcotic pain medications;
- Muscle relaxers;
- Antidepressants; or
- Various other forms of medication
Generally, if you are receiving prescription medication from a pain management doctor in Georgia, you will also be subject to random drug testing to make sure you are taking your medication as prescribed.
Interventional pain management
Interventional pain management generally involves the doctor performing procedures to try to provide longer term pain relief. Some common types of interventions that pain management doctors perform for back and neck injuries include:
- Epidural steroid injections;
- Facet blocks;
- Radiofrequency ablations; and
- Spinal cord stimulators.
How long does pain management treatment last?
Pain management treatment may continue for months or years. Sometimes an injured worker will require pain management treatment for the rest of his or her life.
In some cases, insurance companies may fight paying for pain management treatment because the treatment is not making the patient better. However, the law in Georgia requires employers and their workers’ compensation insurance companies to pay for treatment when the treatment provides a cure or gives relief. Since pain management treatment gives relief from pain, insurance companies cannot use that as a reason not to pay for treatment.
Will the workers compensation insurance company have to pay for pain management for the rest of my life?
In July 2013, the law in Georgia was changed to place a limit on how long your employer and their workers compensation insurance company have to pay for medical treatment. If you injury occurred after July 1, 2013, your employer and their insurance company may now be able to stop paying for medical treatment after 400 weeks from your injury.
While 400 weeks seems like a long time, many injured workers who require pain management treatment will need that treatment for more than 400 weeks. If you are in that situation, you should probably read our blog article that provides more detail about the 400 week limit on medical.
Also, there is an exception to the 400 week limit even if your injury is occurred after June 30, 2013. If you qualify for a catastrophic designation, the 400 week limit on medical treatment should not apply.