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5 things to tell your doctor after an on-the-job injury

You're hurt on the job. Unlike many people, who don't realize an injury is serious and put off that trip to the doctor, you know it right away. You tell your boss and you head for the doctor's office. You can drive yourself, but just barely.

What do you say when you get there? You're already thinking about workers' compensation. You know you can't work like this, not until you heal. So, what do you say?

1. Everything, no matter how minor.

Tell the doctor about every little thing you're experiencing. They all paint a picture. That knee pain could relate to your back pain. Don't ignore anything, even minor issues.

Plus, telling the doctor everything puts it all on record. When the back pain heals and the knee pain gets worse, you have a record tying it directly to your workplace accident.

2. When you got hurt.

Workers' compensation cases get complicated when you don't seek immediate medical attention. Be sure to point out exactly when you got hurt. Was it today, the day before, a month ago? In some cases, there could be multiple answers. Maybe you initially tweaked your back last week and then severely hurt it today. Let the doctor know the schedule of events.

3. Exactly where you're hurt.

Always give specific answers when possible. Don't say that your leg hurts. Which part of your leg hurts? If it's the knee, which side of the knee? Does the pain move around at all? Does it spread when it gets bad? The more information you give out, the better. There are so many muscles, tendons, ligaments and other body parts you could injure. The doctor needs to know exactly what you feel to start working toward an answer.

4. When the pain happens.

Does your back hurt every day? Is it worse when you get up? Do you notice it most when you do certain movements? Again, the specifics carry an incredible amount of weight. Doctors are looking for clues. Give them as many as you can.

5. How bad it gets.

Patients struggle to explain pain. Doctors often use number scales, but this is problematic. If you've never felt much pain before, you may feel that a minor injury is a nine. If you've had numerous injuries and surgeries, you may think the same pain is a four. Even so, find some way to communicate the severity of the pain. For example, explain how it impacts your life. If the pain is so bad it's impossible to get out of bed, that tells the doctor a lot, even without a number.

It's crucial to know how to proceed after a workplace injury. The more information you gather and get on record, the better off you'll be on numerous fronts.

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