Dr Spine’s approach to the Injured WorkerReading Time: 4 minutes
Work-related spine injuries are very common and often seen by Dr. Dwight Tyndall and his team at Dr.Spine.
Though most such injuries are not serious and respond well with medications, activity modification, therapy or surgical treatment, the most difficult part is making the proper diagnosis in the first place.
For that, it takes a highly experienced team of specialists who understand that a one-size-fits-all approach to care can be detrimental to the patient.
“It is important to make the right diagnosis and implement the right treatment, as this leads to quicker recovery and faster return to work and normal activities of daily living,” Dr. Tyndall said. “Individualized care is important since, although patients will often present with what seems to be very similar complaints and injuries, there are significant differences in diagnosis and treatment.”
Spine and back injuries account for a considerable number of workplace injuries. These injuries can lead to a loss of productivity, an economic burden on the business and employee and suffering for the injured worker.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), back disorders affect more than 600,000 employees each year.
Common causes of spine injuries in the workplace include falls, repetitive lifting or bending, improper lifting techniques, chronic overuse and occasionally severe trauma, Dr. Tyndall said
“Injuries to both the cervical and lumbar spine are very common since these are the most mobile parts of the spine,” he said. “Of the two, lumbar injuries are more common.”
Some patients may be more prone to this type of injury because of a number of factors, including the type of work and the lifestyle and fitness level of the worker. Construction workers or employees who perform heavy manual labor, in particular, are more prone to lumbar spine injuries, he said.
Treatment options for patients vary significantly, from medications to injections and surgical management.
Dr. Tyndall added that new treatments include better medications, more targeted physical therapy and injections and more precise surgical techniques.
The goal, he says, is to treat each patient effectively and on an individual basis.
“A one-size-fits-all approach is not cost-effective and oftentimes only prolongs the injured worker’s pain and dysfunction,” he said.
To emphasize that individualized approach, Dr. Tyndall focuses on building a strong patient-doctor relationship that provides patients with the confidence to make difficult choices about their spine treatment plan. He added that though this is time consuming, it is worth the effort because it makes the patient and employer a part of the treatment plan and allows everyone to fully understand what is wrong and the right treatment course.
In addition to attending to the injured, it is important that all the necessary paperwork for the injured worker is completed and given to the worker and his employer. To this end, the Dr.Spine team has a person dedicated to this and that everyone – the injured worker and the employer – is aware of how the worker’s care is progressing and what the future plans are.
In addition to spending quality time with patients during appointments, Dr. Tyndall and the Dr.Spine team ensures that patients feel they can connect with their medical team at any time and get answers to their questions. This is especially important with workers who worry about how their treatment plans affect their ability to return to work and be productive.
With a facility in Munster, Dr.Spine offers patients the ability to get many required tests, such as X-rays or a magnetic resonance imaging scan, conveniently close to home – reducing the amount of time away from work or life obligations.
Surgical treatment is reserved for patients who still have symptoms and complaints that stop them from returning to their pre-injury condition after a comprehensive non-surgical treatment plan.
The Dr.Spine team utilizes the latest innovations to give patients access to less invasive surgical procedures, leading to a faster recovery. Oftentimes, these minimally invasive spine (MIS) surgeries are done in an outpatient setting, allowing the patients to return home to their family the day of surgery.
The Dr.Spine team has been on the forefront of spinal surgery, as Dr. Tyndall has designed some of the newest procedures and instrumentation used in MIS surgery.
“Having a facility close to home that provides personalized spine care is key to ensuring our patients feel connected to their care and allows for better patient outcomes,” Dr. Tyndall said.