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Shoulder Impingement and Workers’ Compensation

Shoulder impingement is a condition where the top of the bone on your shoulder rubs the bursa and tendon in the joint.

Shoulder Impingement Lawyer

One of the most common causes of shoulder pain comes from impingement. Shoulder impingement is a condition where the top of the bone on your shoulder rubs the bursa and tendon in the joint. This is not typically from a work-related accident but rather a repetitive injury that builds up over time.

If you have developed this condition due to your occupation, you can recover workers’ compensation benefits for treating the pain and therapy to reverse the condition. If this requires you to miss days of work, you should also be able to recover some of your wages. At the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann, we will help you understand exactly the type of workers’  compensation benefits you are entitled to.

Which Missouri Workers Are Susceptible to Shoulder Impingement?

Shoulder impingement occurs from the constant lifting of heavy boxes or materials or from performing activities over one’s head for long lengths of time. Construction workers, factory workers, and painters are at greater risk of developing the injury. Any occupation where one repeatedly puts added strain on the shoulder joint could cause this painful condition.

How is Shoulder Impingement Diagnosed?

Diagnosing shoulder impingement typically involves several steps and tests that help assess the injury’s severity and confirm the condition. Here’s an overview of the diagnostic process:

Identifying Symptoms:

  • Swelling and Tenderness: These symptoms are often felt at the front of the shoulder.
  • Pain and Stiffness: These symptoms become more noticeable when lifting or lowering the arm.

Initial Medical Examination:

  • Physical Inspection: The doctor will first check the shoulder for visible signs of injury.
  • Range-of-Motion Tests: You will be asked to move your arm in various directions to evaluate pain, stiffness, and range of motion.

Strength Testing:

  • Muscle Function: Tests will be conducted to assess the strength of the shoulder muscles.

Advanced Diagnostic Tests:

  • MRI Scan: An MRI may be recommended if initial tests and symptoms indicate shoulder impingement, providing a detailed view of the shoulder’s internal structures to aid in confirming the diagnosis.

Consideration of Work-Related Factors:

  • Occupational Risks: If your job requires frequent lifting or prolonged overhead arm extension, these activities will be considered to determine if they contribute to your shoulder pain.

What Should You Do If You Are Diagnosed With Shoulder Impingement?

If you did not file a work injury report with your supervisor before the diagnosis, you must do so immediately following your doctor’s visit. Don’t be surprised if you are sent to a different doctor who works within your company’s workers’ compensation insurance network.

Once the diagnosis has been confirmed, you should be able to receive all necessary treatment at no out-of-pocket cost. You can appeal those decisions if you disagree with the referred physician’s opinion or treatment plan. This would be a good time to contact the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann to determine your next step.

Treatment for Shoulder Impingement

Treating shoulder impingement typically involves a multi-step approach, starting with less invasive treatments and progressing to more intensive options if necessary. Here’s a detailed overview of the treatment process:

Initial Treatments:

  • Medications:
    • Pain Relievers and Anti-inflammatory Drugs: Doctors often prescribe these to help reduce swelling and alleviate pain, providing initial relief.
  • Work Restrictions:
    • Modified Duties: To prevent further aggravation of the condition, you may be assigned lighter or restricted tasks at work.
    • Time Off: If adjustments at work are not possible, taking time off may be necessary, and you might be eligible for loss of wage benefits.

Further Treatment Options:

  • Physical Therapy:
    • Objective: To strengthen the shoulder muscles and improve the range of motion, which can help alleviate impingement symptoms.
    • Activities: Includes exercises specifically targeted to reduce pressure in the shoulder area and enhance mobility.
  • Steroid Injections:
    • Purpose: When physical therapy alone does not relieve pain, these injections can significantly reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

Advanced Interventions:

  • Surgery:
    • Indication: Considered when other treatments have not successfully relieved symptoms.
    • Procedure: Surgical options may involve repairing or removing parts of the damaged shoulder to alleviate pressure on the tendons.

Communication:

  • Keeping Employers Informed:
    • Updates: Regularly update your employer about your health status, progress in treatment, and any changes that might affect your work ability.
    • Workplace Adjustments: Discuss necessary modifications or time off based on your treatment needs.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Shoulder Impingement

Certain occupations and work-related activities can be directly traced to the development of shoulder impingement. If you fit that description, then your employer should be responsible for the cost of your treatments, medications, and loss of wages. If questions arise or they prematurely stop your benefits before the treatment is completed, contact the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann at (314) 361-4300. We have handled dozens of work comp cases involving shoulder impingement.

Work-Related Injuries