Three steps to prevent chronic pain claims before they happen

Chronic pain is a growing aspect of workers compensation claims – a trend that’s best treated with a healthy dose of prevention.

Chronic pain affects as many as 116 million U.S. residents, according to the Institute of Medicine, leading to a staggering $635 billion a year in medical treatment and lost productivity. And while chronic pain affects more people than heart disease, diabetes and cancer combined, dealing with it in the workplace can be a significant challenge. The best defense? Prevent injuries that might lead to long-term pain.

Not every injury leads to disabling pain, but putting preventive practices in place is a good start to preventing an injury from escalating to lengthy treatment for pain. Here are the top three practices you can put in place today to protect your employees from chronic pain:

  1. Physical evaluations: Making sure that employees can meet the physical demands of their day-to-day job will go a long way in preventing injuries that can lead to chronic pain. The physical evaluation might include an ergonomic evaluation – even if someone can handle the physical demands of their job, considering work-area or process tweaks might help them work more comfortably or more efficiently.
  2. Effective return-to-work programs: When an injury occurs, working on a plan that emphasizes a gradual and healthy return to work with a temporary shift to modified work can help prevent escalation to chronic pain and reduce lost production time. Work with your insurer and health care providers to make sure that the work can be performed without further injury, and to identify disability risks early.
  3. Encourage step-down programs for prescription pain killers: Working with your insurer to make sure that they are monitoring opiate prescriptions can help prevent the long-term use of narcotics that can lead to addiction. Health care providers may not be aware of how long a particular patient is using a pain killer, but insurers may be able to help flag opiate prescriptions that exceed 60 days and encourage a step-down program that will allow for a gradual elimination of the drugs from the workers treatment regimen.

Need help putting these steps into practice in your dealership? MADSIF’s loss prevention experts can help. Call us at 866.919.9578 or connect with us here to find out how you can jumpstart your efforts to lower your insurance costs.