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Overview Of Pain Management And Illinois Work Comp Law


We are fortunate to be able to help people who have been injured on the job in Illinois. These workers have sustained many different types of injuries. Some people recover quickly and are back to 100% in a matter of weeks. Others, however, end up suffering from chronic or long-term pain.

Most people understand that their company’s workers compensation insurance will cover  100% of the treatment required (e.g., surgery, physical therapy, rehabilitation) to address the injury. But many are unaware that after that treatment, if pain persists, pain management care should be covered by workers’ compensation as well.

Pain serves a purpose. It alerts a person to damage to the body. But after a person receives and interprets this message, further pain can be counter-productive. Pain can have a huge negative impact on one’s quality of life, not just from the physical side of things but also on the mental and social sides. Anxiety, depression, difficulty sleeping, and difficulty maintaining relationships can result from chronic pain.

In most situations, the doctor who treated your injury will refer you to a pain management specialist. For example, if an orthopedic surgeon performed surgery on a person’s back, and the patient is experiencing significant pain post-surgery, the surgeon may refer him/her to a pain management doctor.

What does the pain management doctor do? In this medical specialty, doctors try to find an effective treatment to help relieve and manage your pain. That sounds simple enough, but in reality, finding the right treatment can be very complex, and it might take some time. What works for one person with back pain may not work with a person with arthritis.

That treatment often involves the doctor prescribing pain medication and/or performing injections or other procedures. Painkillers will likely play a role in your treatment. Common options include:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Acetaminophen
  • COX-2 inhibitors
  • Antidepressants and anti-seizure medications
  • Opioids

Your doctor should discuss the benefits and risks of pain medications so you can make safe choices.

As we mentioned, injections and other procedures may be a part of a patient’s pain management plan. Nerve blocks, facet joint blocks, ablation, and trigger point injections are common examples. A pain management pump is one that many of our callers with back injuries have had success with as well. This is a device that is surgically planted under your skin by your abdomen and slowly releases medication directly to your spinal cord. It allows you to control symptoms with a smaller dose of medication since it’s delivered directly to the area causing you pain.  This is great because it can help reduce the harmful side effects of some medications.

People who benefit from pain management treatment are those who have tried everything else, aren’t a candidate for surgery, don’t have medication addiction issues, and don’t have other unrelated but severe medical conditions. We’ve seen it help a lot of people who have RSD, failed back surgeries, severe arthritis, and strokes.

There aren’t a lot of great pain management doctors out there as it’s a bit of a niche specialty. If you are struggling with pain related to a work injury, feel free to contact us to learn more about your options and our opinions as to which doctors would be best for your care. We are of course also happy to discuss any aspect of your case for free and in confidence. Please call us any time at 312-346-5578.


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