Posted On: February 1, 2010 by Steven J. Malman

Workers’ compensation patients who undergo back surgery for sciatica benefit less than patients that are not getting work injury benefits

A new study published in Spine reports that patients who underwent surgery to treat sciatica benefited more from surgery than from non-surgical procedures. That is, unless the patient was getting paid workers’ compensation benefits for the work injury. The reason for this discrepancy is unclear.

As part of the main study, researchers analyzed data provided on 924 sciatica patients. A randomized trial was conducted. Some patients were treated with pain medication, physical therapy, exercises, and education. Other patients underwent surgery. Both approaches proved effective and the patients’ conditions improved. However, sciatica patients who underwent surgery improved faster and exhibited better recovery results for up to two years afterward.

Researchers also conducted a new analysis to see whether patients receiving workers’ compensation responded differently to treatment. 12% of the patients studied were on workers’ compensation. What researchers found was that at three months after surgery it was the patients who weren’t getting workers’ compensation benefits that exhibited significantly better results. The patients who weren't on workers' compensation also stayed better after 24 months, while surgery patients on workers’ compensation experienced pain and exhibited physical function similar to sciatica patients who had undergone non-surgical treatment.

Sciatica is a disabling condition that is commonly cited in workers’ compensation claims. Studies in the past have indicated that a sciatica patient’s workers’ compensation status can have an impact on the results of herniated disc treatments. Sciatica can be very painful and may lead to nerve damage that can radiate through the body and leg. If not treated correctly, Sciatica can become a permanent, crippling condition.

Back injuries can not only impede a worker’s ability to do the job, but they can cause severe pain and lead to the inability to live a normal life. It is important that you file your Illinois workers’ compensation claim immediately.

Study: Workers’ Comp Patients Get Less Benefit from Back Surgery, Spine, January 29, 2010

Sciatica, Mayo Clinic

Related Web Resources:

Herniated Disc, WebMD

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