Shoulder Injuries And Workers’ Compensation

As a workers' comp attorney, I often see clients with shoulder injuries. The shoulder has more range of motion than any other joint in the body. Your shoulder is used in almost every arm movement you make. Because of this, shoulders are frequently injured. Shoulder injuries can be debilitating.

The most common ways that shoulders are injured are through:

  • A fall on an outstretched arm,
  • A direct blow to the shoulder, or
  • Abnormal twisting or bending of the shoulder.

Types Of Shoulder Injuries

Shoulder problems may be minor aches and pains such as a muscle strain or a bruise. These types of injuries may only need home treatment. Or, shoulder injuries may be more serious such as a broken bone, dislocated shoulder, nerve damage or a torn rotator cuff. These injuries may need more intensive medical treatment and may take a long time to heal.

Common symptoms of shoulder injuries include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Weakness
  • Changes in temperature or color
  • Changes in range of motion

Types Of Treatment

For shoulder injuries, treatment falls into three main categories:

Activity changes and exercise — This is the least invasive form of treatment. It usually consists of rest, changing or restricting activities and physical therapy. A doctor may recommend using a sling to keep the shoulder in place.

Medications — Medication can range from over-the-counter pain relievers, to prescribed pain relievers in pill form, to injections of numbing medicines or steroids to relieve pain.

Surgery — In extreme cases, surgery may be needed. Recurring dislocations and some rotator cuff tears may not benefit from exercise, so surgery may be recommended early in treatment. Arthroscopy is used to remove scar tissue or repair torn tissues. For shoulder dislocations, a doctor performs a procedure that pushes the ball of the upper arm back into the socket. Other procedures are used for larger reconstructions or shoulder replacement.

Even after surgery, an injured worker may need physical therapy, medication and other treatment for short- or long-term pain. The worker may still have restricted range of motion and loss of full use of the shoulder. That is why it is important not to settle a workers' comp shoulder injury claim too soon. It is best to make sure there is no permanent disability after all treatment options have been implemented.

Why Working With An Attorney Makes Sense

Even if you have a temporary disability from the work injury, it is best to let a qualified and experienced workers' compensation attorney help you evaluate your claim. I am Mark L. Chipokas, a Cedar Rapids injury lawyer with more than 25 years of experience. I offer free consultations to injured workers.

Call 319-423-8011 or use my online contact form to make an appointment. There are no upfront costs, and I only collect a fee if I help you obtain benefits.