After a work injury, one may have body aches and pain, loss of range of motion, and even loss of function of certain body parts, such as hands, arms, feet, or legs. In an effort to heal and move on many injured workers turn to physical therapy.  In conjunction with treatment by a physician or chiropractor, physical therapy can be key.  What is physical therapy anyway?

The below is Wikipedia’s definition.

Therapy 

Physical therapy, mostly known as Physiotherapy, is a primary care specialty in western medicine that, by using mechanical force and movements, Manual therapy, exercise therapy, electrotherapy and various physical therapies who practice evidence based treatments, remediates impairments and promotes mobility, function, and quality of life through examination, diagnosis, prognosis, and physical intervention. It is performed by physical therapists.

Physical therapy, mostly known as Physiotherapy, is a primary care specialty in western medicine that, by using mechanical force and movements, Manual therapy, exercise therapy, electrotherapy and various physical therapies who practice evidence based … en.wikipedia.org · Text under CC-BY-SA license

In order to receive or undergo physical therapy, one must get a prescription from a licensed physician.  Therapy can also be in the form of occupational therapy and vestibular therapy. These types of therapies help individuals who have suffered concussions or eye injuries, for example.  Occupational therapy can help with simple cognitive thinking exercises, and the vestibular therapy is used, among other things, for balance and eye disorders suffered due to concussions.

How long therapy goes on for depends on the injury, where the injured worker is with his or her treatment, and what his or her doctor prescribes.  Something to be aware of when one is undergoing any therapy while on workers’ compensation is that in many cases, the workers’ compensation carrier will at some point file a Utilization Review, which is a way for the carrier to try to not pay for the treatment. How it works is having another physician or physical therapist review the treatment and or therapy and give an opinion as to whether the treatment is reasonable and necessary.  If the treatment being reviewed is found to be reasonable and necessary, then the carrier will pay for the same.  If the treatment being reviewed is found to be not reasonable or necessary, then the carrier will not pay for the same. 

What can the injured worker do if the treatment is determined to be “not reasonable or necessary” but feels like the treatment or therapy is really working and wants to fight the determination?  The injured worker should then obtain experienced workers’ compensation counsel and file a Petition to Review Utilization Review.  The Petition will then get assigned to a Workers’ Compensation Judge, who will review evidence, then decide if the treatment is reasonable or necessary for the period reviewed.  The evidence typically admitted is the injured workers’ testimony as to how and if the treatment helped him or her, and also the deposition testimony of the Provider in question.  The burden is always on the employer/workers’ compensation carrier to prove that the treatment is not reasonable or necessary.  If the Judge determines that the treatment is reasonable and necessary, then the carrier will have to pay for the treatment.

If you find yourself on workers’ compensation, and your treatment or therapy is being challenged by the workers’ compensation carrier, do not give up!  You have options to try to keep your treatment.