Workplace Injuries: FAQ’s With Our Experts


For those of you that do not know, worker’s compensation is a law that is established to provide partial medical care and income protection to employees who are injured or become ill from the job.Our fellowship-trained and board-certified team at NSPC answer some of the many Frequently-Asked-Questions by our patients.


Can a person have pain due to a workplace injury? 

It is possible to be injured at your workplace in the event of carrying out your job description activities. A correlation can be drawn based on the onset of pain symptoms after an injury was received at work. It is important to note the date of injury sustained and the date of symptom onset.


What are some of the common causes of workplace injuries that you’ve seen? 

Some of the causes of injuries sustained at one’s workplace can be heavy lifting, prolonged exposure to a trigger such as pressure or heat/ cold, fall, equipment accident, etc.


What are some of the common body parts you see affected by workplace injuries? 

According to our expert physicians, the common body parts affected are the lower back, neck, upper and lower extremities, and joints in workplace injuries.


Are medications enough to treat workplace injuries?

Depending on the etiology of the pain, likely not. However, medications commonly prescribed are short-term non-steroidal medications in association with other conservative modalities like physical therapy that are effective for workplace injuries. If these do not work, interventions should be tried.


Are these workplace injuries permanent? 

Every case is determined on a case-by-case basis, and a balance is necessary to assess work status. While a lot of the injuries may not be permanent, they have to be treated aggressively.


What should the patients be aware of in terms of paperwork? 

Patients need to be aware that some companies require certain forms filled out which they have to collect from their HR office and submit to the doctor. They must also be diligent in regularly updating their return-towork status and functional capacity notes at every visit with the physician. If there is an adjuster involved (which is the case in most WorkComp cases), their name and contact information should be provided along with a claim number (if applicable). The pain center works very closely with these stakeholders to provide you with the best possible care options. This two-way communication is necessary to get procedures approved as well.


What are the regular treatments that the pain center has offered their patients presenting with workplace injuries? 

We offer comprehensive evaluation and examination. Radiological evaluation is frequently needed and will be ordered. Interventional pain procedures such as injections, medication management, and physical therapy referrals are frequently provided for patients with workplace injuries. Some other aspects of conservative management tools are the provision of a back brace, compression stockings and a TENS unit.

Exercise Health and Pain Management

exercise health

Exercise is an important way of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and preventing chronic health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and sleep apnea. Health professionals recommend having 30 minutes of moderate-level intensity exercise per day. Some activities of moderate-level intensity exercise include brisk walking, cycling, rowing, and swimming especially for those with a sedentary lifestyle such as an office job that includes sitting for long hours. According to the CDC, moderate-intensity exercise has a heart rate between 64-76% of your maximum heart rate. 

However, many sports are considered to be vigorous-level intensity exercise, and unfortunately, the risk goes up with the increase in strenuous activity of the sport. Examples of vigorous-level intensity exercise include track, cross country, soccer, tennis, and basketball. 

The risk is even higher for injury if the individual is out-of-shape, doesn’t wear protective equipment, doesn’t warm up prior to exercise or cool down after exercise, or participates in contact sports such as football, wrestling, martial arts, or boxing. Not to say that vigorous-intensity exercises are harmful, they actually offer great health benefits including an adrenaline rush that comes with beating your personal record. It’s just that the risk of injury is even greater and typically requires outside supervision in the form of coaches and referees to monitor the game. 

Sports injuries are common to pain management, and pain management offers several treatment modalities to treat acute and chronic pain. Common overuse sports injuries include but are not limited to jumper’s knee, tennis/ golf elbow, sciatica, runner’s knee, and shin splints. You may be able to manage a minor sports injury at home with rest, ice, compression, and elevation. However, if your sports injury fails to improve within a few days of at-home care, you should schedule an appointment with our specialists at Northwest Suburban Pain Center. Some of our treatment methods that are used to treat sports injuries include epidural steroid injections, joint injections, nerve blocks, PRP therapy, radio frequency ablation, and spinal cord stimulation. Please contact our offices in Arlington Heights and South Barrington if you have any painful sports injuries or are just looking for treatment of pain from previous injuries or conditions.

Debunking Common Myths Surrounding Pain Management

Myth: Pain management is contributing to the growing opioid epidemic. 

Fact: Interventional and conventional medication pain management actually reduces the need for long-term use of opioids. 


Myth: Pain management is only meant for patients post-surgery. 

Fact: In addition to post-surgical pain, there are modalities to treat chronic pain conditions such as spinal stenosis, radiculopathy, neuropathy, spondylosis, and osteoarthritis. Acute conditions from auto accidents and workplace injuries can also be treated. 


Myth: Pain can only be alleviated with addictive medications. 

Fact: Long-term medication management can include non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (prescription-strength), neuropathic (nervecalming) medications, muscle relaxants, etc. 


Myth: Pain management specialists do not understand how pain is affecting my daily life and quality of life. 

Fact: Our pain management specialists spend time speaking with patients to see which of their pain generators (BTW, there can be multiple pain generators for one area of pain) is affecting their daily life the most and go in that order for targeting the causes. 


Myth: I don’t need to consult a pain management doctor if I had a sports injury, and should instead use home remedies longterm. 

Fact: Sports injuries may require conservative management to start off with, but most injuries can persist leading to the need for interventions. Without these modalities, pain can affect the quality of life long-term. 


Myth: MRIs and X-rays are not necessary after an injury or chronic pain.

Fact: It is necessary to start off with basic imaging to rule-out fractures and acute conditions. Advanced imaging such as MRIs and CT scans are needed to look for conditions such as spinal stenosis, facet cysts, degenerative changes of the discs, and EMGs for neuropathy and radiculopathy. 


Myth: Pain management uses interventions that provide short-term relief. Fact: Pain management uses interventions that provide targeted medication administration against the specific pain generator. This ensures that the full medication is used in a targeted way versus affecting the entire body. This has been found to be better than taking oral medications long-term which in turn affects the whole body. Myth: Physical therapy does not help with chronic pain. 

Fact: Physical therapy plays a great role in strengthening the core muscles, and offers modalities such as electrical stimulation, ultrasound, and home exercise regimens. PT works extremely well in combination with interventional management. 


Myth: Seeing a pain management doctor is difficult to fit into my busy schedule. 

Fact: We provide the shortest wait time for our patients depending on the intensity of pain presentation. Please call us today at 847-255-0900.