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Chiropractic treatment for work-related back pain

On Behalf of | Aug 10, 2023 | Workers' Compensation

Construction work is back-breaking work – both figuratively and literally speaking. Construction workers often must lift heavy objects as part of their jobs and occasionally find themselves in awkward positions, and both can lead to lower back pain.

There are various ways to treat lower back pain. Potential treatment methods include physical therapy and drugs such as pain relievers, muscle relaxants, antidepressants and narcotics.

But another alternative option that could help those suffering from acute back pain is chiropractic treatment. What does chiropractic treatment entail, and will workers’ compensation cover the costs?

What is chiropractic care?

Chiropractors treat musculoskeletal pains such as back pain through manipulation of the spine. The professionals use controlled and sudden force on a spinal joint or muscles to help reduce pain and release tension. Chiropractic treatment is so popular that 35% of the 22 million Americans see a chiropractor each year specifically for their lower back pain.

Apart from back pain, chiropractors can also help relieve neck pain, headaches, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia symptoms.

Notably, chiropractors aren’t doctors but must still pass a chiropractic college to practice as one.

Can workers’ compensation cover chiropractic treatment?

North Carolina has provisions allowing employers to offer chiropractic treatment for their employees through workers’ compensation. However, there are restrictions.

By state rules, an employee is only allowed 20 chiropractor visits if they’re medically necessary. If the employee needs more, their chiropractor can request more treatment sessions from the employer.

The employer also has the final say on what kind of medical treatment an employee with a workers’ compensation claim will receive. So, suppose an employee wants to have their lower back pain treated by a chiropractor instead of the medical professional chosen by their employer. In that case, they must petition the North Carolina Industrial Commission.