If you have generally good health, you may see a doctor only once a year for a physical or not at all. Either way, if you sustain an on-the-job injury, you likely need immediate and ongoing medical treatment. In Nebraska, you usually have a right to have your existing doctor treat your workers’ compensation injury.
If you do not have an existing professional relationship with a physician, your employer may choose a doctor for you. Knowing how to communicate effectively with the physician may be key to your prognosis. Here are some tips for talking to your doctor about a workplace injury.
Your initial appointment
At your first medical appointment after suffering a job-related injury, you must tell your doctor about your health background. This includes your pre-existing conditions, medications and family history. You also should explain how the injury happened.
When doing so, do not forget to mention pain levels, job restrictions and lifestyle limitations. Remember, injury symptoms may not appear immediately. Therefore, it is vital to mention even seemingly minor concerns.
Your doctor may not be able to evaluate and treat you in a single appointment. If your physician schedules a subsequent meeting, you should create a journal to document your pain, recovery and other matters. Then, bring these concerns to the doctor’s attention when receiving follow-up care.
If you have any of the following, notify your doctor as soon as possible:
- New or different types of pain
- New or changing symptoms
- Medication side effects or reactions
- Difficulties performing modified job duties
- Other injury-related limitations
Your regular physician may feel uncomfortable treating you for certain injuries. If so, he or she may refer you to a specialist, therapist or another medical professional. To prepare for an appointment with a medical specialist, think about why he or she is seeing you. Then, ask questions that target the medical professional’s specific knowledge.
With the right care and treatment plan, you may recover completely from your on-the-job injury. By keeping close tabs on your personal health, you can give your physician the information necessary to treat you effectively throughout your recovery process.