I’m In Pain: Should I Wait to Seek Treatment?

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Q. I’m in pain: Should I wait to seek treatment?

A. Delaying treatment for pain can turn a relatively minor injury into a major health problem. A rapid response to back injury in the workplace, for example, can prevent the development of chronic pain in many cases. While injured workers wait in limbo for the outcome of a workers’ compensation decision or appeal, their very livelihoods can be jeopardized.

Supervised physical therapy is a crucial element of rehabilitation and can be the determining factor in a patient’s return to work or eligibility for vocational training. About 70 percent to 80 percent of patients need three to six months of therapy, which must be supervised to prevent re-injury from improperly executed movements.

— Pain specialist Michael Stanton-Hicks, MD

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