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Chronic pain and the American worker: A common problem

People often assume that workplace injuries are one-time events that heal up eventually and have no lasting impact. A broken leg from a fall off of a ladder is all but forgotten about, for instance. A minor scar is the only reminder of a cut from a power tool.

However, that's not always the case. Many people suffer from chronic pain; some reports claim that about 116 million Americans deal with it every single year. The result is lost hours at work, lost wages and medical bills reaching into the billions.

For instance, rather than breaking your leg in that ladder fall, maybe you hurt your back. Even when you could return to work, it never felt as strong as it once did. Now, you always deal with mild to severe pain. Chronic pain can also develop through repetitive-motion injuries, like carpal tunnel syndrome. These are also often work-related conditions.

If you're struggling with chronic pain, physical therapists recommend that you take the time to look into all of your treatment options. They warn that too many people skip therapy and long-term solutions, instead just trying to use painkillers or surgery. While both of those options can be helpful in certain situations, make sure you don't think they're all the options you have. Some combination of all three may actually lead to a better recovery.

It's also wise to consider an exercise program, no matter your age. It helps your body, your mind and your heart. In some cases, getting in better shape can help you reduce that chronic pain by reducing the everyday strain on your body.

Have you been suffering from chronic pain due to a workplace injury? As noted above, the costs can be enormous, so find out if you have a right to compensation for your losses.

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