Work Injuries and Chiropractic Care

Correct Lifting Technique

Let’s review what these common workplace injuries are, and then dive into more detail about what to do when you’re injured on the job in Oregon and when to seek chiropractic care.

Chiropractic care can be helpful for work injuries, especially since most work injuries are musculoskeletal injuries. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the two most common workplace injuries were 1) overexertion and bodily reaction; and 2) slips, falls, and trips. Let’s review what these common workplace injuries are and then dive into more detail about what to do when you’re injured on the job in Oregon and want to seek chiropractic care.

Common Work Injury Types

A man with an injured back after lifting a crate
A man with an injured back after lifting a crate of heavy metal

Overexertion and Bodily Reaction

These injuries are either sudden injuries from specific movements or those that develop over time from the same movement. The back is the most commonly injured body part in this type of injury, and it can be caused by non-impact injuries, which result from lifting, bending, twisting, carrying, and throwing. With repetitive injuries, wherein the worker repeats specific movements over and over (like typing at a keyboard or grocery checker), it’s common to be diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome or other hand injuries.

Slips, Falls, and Trips

At work, sprains, strains, and tears can result from an accidental fall, trip, or slip. It’s typical for employees 55+ to suffer from this kind of injury, especially if they work in the construction field, where there are many tripping hazards and uneven surfaces.

Most Commonly Injured Body Part on the Job

There are three body parts that are most commonly cited in workplace injuries.

Back Injury in the Workplace

As we mentioned before, the back is a very common location for pain and injury. Lumbar sprains and strains are the most common, with disc injuries following close behind in likelihood. Back pain typically stems from overexertion or lifting heavy objects. Improper lifting is often to blame for back injuries. An example of improper lifting is lifting while bent forward and then twisting. Warehouse employees and nurses are some of the most likely workers to get this type of injury.

Upper Extremity Injury in the Workplace

Repetitive injuries often impact the upper extremities when it comes to workplace injuries. Repetitive injuries commonly affect hands, shoulders, elbows, and arms. Carrying things or doing the same movement repeatedly, day in and day out, can cause these upper extremity injuries. Carpal tunnel in office jobs and ganglion cysts in retail jobs (from scanning at the check-out) are common in this category. Rotator cuff injuries are also common injuries.

Lower Extremity Injury in the Workplace

Slips, falls, and trips in the workplace tend to impact the lower extremities, such as the hips, knees, ankles, and legs. For example, when a person falls, they hit the ground with their knees, twist their ankle, land on their hip, or overextend leg muscles (or even break a leg bone). In addition, just one misstep from one floor to the next can cause lower extremity injury, especially in those 55 years old and older, due to your body’s declining proprioception (ability to distinguish the movement and space around you).

What to do if injured on the job in Oregon

There are a few steps you’ll want to make sure you take immediately if you’re injured at work in Oregon:

  1. Notify your employer. Your employer will fill out a Form 801, a Report of Injury.
  2. Seek appropriate medical care. For example, if you cut yourself, go get stitches. If you injured your back, go to the chiropractor.
  3. Have your doctor fill out a Form 827 to initiate care.
  4. In Oregon, chiropractors can be your initial care provider and coordinate with other necessary providers. In Oregon, you can see a chiropractor for 18 visits or 60 days from the first visit (whichever comes first). You can keep seeing your chiropractor after these limits, but you will need a prescription from a medical doctor to continue chiropractic care.

FAQ about Workplace Injuries and Chiropractic in Oregon

It’s kind of a tricky topic. You’re not alone when you have questions about workplace injuries and chiropractic. Keep reading for the most frequently asked questions:

Yes. Even if you went to urgent care first, you can transfer your care to your chiropractor.

Yes. Chiropractors are considered an attending physician in Oregon. Attending physicians can manage treatment plans, including ordering x-rays or advanced images. They can also refer to specialists such as Orthopedic surgeons or ancillary care like physical therapists.
Yes. As attending physicians, chiropractors have the responsibility to determine whether working is in your best interest. You may need to be off of work completely, or you may find a way to do modified work, if your attending physician determines it will be safe for your condition.
Yes. If you’ve been directed to an MCO provider by the workers’ compensation insurance, then you must see those providers. If you see non-participating providers, you may end up being responsible (paying the bill) for those services.
No. Your employer is limited to work-related disclosures only, such as a return to work or modified work details. (Basically: they can only know if you can work, and whether you have restrictions on the work you’re doing.)
If driving is an integral part of your job (like if you’re a bus driver, truck driver, or delivery driver) then you may be covered under workers’ comp. There are exceptions, and this can be a tricky question to answer for each instance; please consult your doctor to better determine the answer for your particular situation.

Chiropractic care should be part of your recovery if you have work-related musculoskeletal injuries. Dr. McHattie has over a decade of experience in treating and managing work injuries. Getting injured on the job stinks and can be confusing to navigate. We can help you with any questions about your injuries and work comp claim. Our goal is to help you recover quickly, so you can safely return to work.