The shoulder is a complex ball and joint structure. A serious injury to that part of your body can leave you with issues to manage in the coming months and possibly for a lifetime.
You may have taken a bad fall or been in a crash with the company car. If your shoulder injury is work-related, you have the right to seek financial help through workers’ compensation.
IMPORTANT: Don’t assume that workers’ comp benefits will come to you automatically after a work injury. There are important steps you should take as soon as possible after the accident, or as soon as you suspect your injury is work-related. Many shoulder injuries are the result of repetitive stress, and it’s important to tell your employer right away when you believe your injury may be due to your work duties. For more on the workers’ comp process in Georgia, please see our Workers’ Comp Dos and Don’ts.
About the shoulder
The ball and joint structure of your shoulder contains bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments. An injury can severely limit the shoulder’s wide range of motion. The damage might include torn ligaments and/or broken bones. Rehabilitation, whether or not you require surgery, is almost always recommended.
IMPORTANT: In many cases, it can be difficult to tell if the injury is to the shoulder or the neck. The pain may come down from the neck through the shoulder and down the arm. So, when going to the doctor, make sure you explain in detail where the pain is coming from and how you were injured. (Sometimes the doctors even get the diagnosis incorrect until testing is done.) That can make it clearer as to which body part is actually injured. Sometimes it can even be both.
Unfortunately, in many cases, when the injured worker complains of a shoulder injury, legitimately thinking that is what was injured at work, and the injury is actually to the neck from the same incident, the insurance company will deny the correct body part when it was not originally stated as being injured. That is when you need to call us, the Law Office of Perry Dean Ellis, and we will get you taken care of for ALL injured body parts from your work accident.
The therapy program
Often the centerpiece of rehabilitation is a physical therapy program. Treatments will normally include stretching, electrical stimulation, shoulder manipulation to break up scar tissue, strengthening exercises, heat, ice and ultrasound. Pre-hab therapy sessions prior to surgery may reduce the amount of intensive therapy required afterward.
A painful shoulder injury may leave you with a certain handicap. You may never be able to raise the affected arm as high as you once did. It may be difficult to pull dishes out of an upper cabinet and hard to put on a tee-shirt or coat. You may find that you do not have the strength to carry heavy parcels and grocery bags even after months of physical therapy. However, workers’ compensation benefits may be available to cover your current and future medical costs, as well as lost wages. The benefits for a work-related shoulder injury could help make the future a lot brighter.
To learn more about the workers’ compensation system in Georgia, please see our Workers’ Compensation Overview. The Law Office of Perry Dean Ellis fights for injured workers throughout the Atlanta area.