How To Safely Return To Work After A Back Injury
Category: Spinal Cord Injury | Author: Stefano Sinicropi
When a person is injured at work, oftentimes their first thought is related to how quickly they can return to their job. While you may not miss your job, you’re probably going to miss that paycheck, which is why people often try to get back to work as soon as possible after an injury. The problem with that strategy is that if you’re not careful, you can actually suffer a more severe injury that will knock you out of work for days, weeks or even months.
So if you want to get back to work after a spine injury, you should keep some tips in mind to make sure you do so effectively and safely. Here’s a look at how you can safely return to work after a back injury.
Getting Back To Work After A Spine Injury
If you want to get back to work and prevent another back injury, keep these tips in mind.
- Listen To Your Doctor – Likely the number one reason why workers re-injure their back after returning to work is because they did not follow their doctor’s instructions. If the doctor said you shouldn’t lift more than 10 pounds or be standing for more than 30 minutes, don’t go back to your construction job without restrictions. It’s a good idea to explain to your doctor what type of work you typically perform so they can tell you what is tolerable and what should be avoided. If you are confused about what “light duty” means, ask questions, don’t just make assumptions.
- Posture Care – Regardless of whether you work construction or in an office, you are going to want to mind your posture upon return, because poor posture may have even played a role in your initial injury. Practice proper lifting techniques and keep your head positioned above your shoulders when seated so you aren’t leaning or slouching and putting undue pressure on your spine. Posture management is important upon your return.
- Communication With Management – It’s also very important that you clearly communicate with management so expectations are well known. If they want you to do something you can’t physically handle, you need to speak up or you’re risking further injury. Let them know of your doctor’s restrictions and make sure any tasks they ask you to do fall within the acceptable range. Finally, if something starts to hurt, let management know. They’d rather have you go home for a day or two than stay and make the injury much worse.
- Stretch – Finally, you’ll want to stretch and move around a bit throughout the day. This will help prepare spinal muscles for physical activity, and it can help prevent problems like cramps, strains or sprains. Stretching and breaking up long seated periods also helps to destress your spine and promote healthy blood flow to the area, which is helpful for recovery and injury prevention.
It’s also important to have clear communication with management and your doctor as your healing progresses. If your work restrictions need to be modified, talk to your doctor and update management on your progress. This way there are no breakdowns in work expectations.
For more information, or to get help after a work injury you’ve suffered, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.