Workers’ compensation claims and occupational injury rates have declined in recent years. According to a recent report by MedRisk, which located in King of Prussia, there has been a 13 percent increase in physical therapy or occupational therapy despite an 18 percent decrease in occupational injuries and a 19 percent decrease in claims frequency.

This shift in care is in response to the rising opioid crisis as well as innovative new research that supports a physical therapy-first approach. It is also cited as a method for reducing so-called “downstream” costs. A provider of physical medicine to workers’ compensation patients, the company’s statistics support this type of treatment for injured workers, pointing out that it has seen improvement after treatment in as little as three days.

Benefits of physical therapy

Depending on the injury, the benefits can include:

  • Avoiding surgery
  • Pain management with less use of opioids
  • Improved mobility and movement
  • Aiding recovery from trauma or injury

When is physical therapy appropriate?

The report highlights successful outcomes from tears of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and lower back pain. Common workers’ compensation injuries also treated with physical therapy include:

  • Hand therapy for carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Musculoskeletal dysfunction and certain joint disorders
  • Neurological conditions such as strokes and traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries

It is advisable to seek guidance from an experienced attorney

As with any workers’ compensation treatment, there are certain guidelines that must be followed. We strongly recommend that those who are injured at work or who have been denied and plan to file a workers’ compensation claim here in Pennsylvania should consult with an attorney. A Pennsylvania certified specialist workers’ compensation lawyer can help ensure that workers’ rights are protected and that injured workers get the best possible medical treatment, whether it is physical therapy, involves surgery, a combination of the two or some other treatment.