Mann Law Firm November 2019



Arthritis in Workers’ Comp Know How the Condition Affects Your Benefits

Two-thirds of adults from the ages of 18–64 have some sort of arthritis, and those over 30 will especially have some form in their neck or back. Arthritis only becomes an issue when we start feeling the pain. It is among the five most costly conditions for adults, which makes it a significant point of contention in workers’ compensation cases. So, it’s imperative to understand how arthritis affects your benefits. In the event of a traumatic incident at work, it’s common to feel severe pain in your joints or back. In such an event, you should go see a doctor, who may determine your pain is due to arthritis. The key in this situation is discerning when the pain started. If it began before your injury, then it’s likely due to your arthritis. However, if the pain started post-incident, then it’s likely a direct result of your work injury. Arthritis increases as we age, so doctors commonly view the condition as a sign of aging. However, sustained injuries can cause arthritis pain. Let’s take a job of moving boxes, for instance. If you work long hours moving boxes and develop back pain, it’s easy to let this nagging issue go unreported. But, if the injury escalates resulting in a slipped disc, you may feel severe pain running down your leg, which will disable you from working. When you talk to your doctor or supervisor about the issue, they may think the pain in your leg is due to your existing back issues, which is classified as “aggravation of a preexisting condition.” The pain down your leg may be a symptom of your back injury, but you know the back injury developed from your working conditions in the first place. “Arthritis is like a hornet’s nest. If you leave it alone, you’re fine, but, when you start shaking it, you’re going to feel pain.”

What a case like this should tell you is it’s imperative to recognize your pain immediately. When it becomes a workers’ compensation issue, it’s much easier to identify the cause of your pain when the timeline is documented. Arthritis can affect you regardless of your occupation as reports indicate that 22.7% of all adults have been diagnosed with some form of arthritis. Some of the occupations that are at a higher risk are truck driving, machine work, assembly line work, and construction work, just to name a few. Arthritis is like a hornet’s nest. If you leave it alone, you’re fine, but, when you start shaking it, you’re going to feel pain. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your arthritis pain and your workplace, never hesitate to contact us at 478-742-3381.

-David Mann | 1

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