Chronic Pain causes falls

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Posted by LIWU95 (e-mailed in to IWA) on March 17, 1999 at 09:17:05:

Hello, Allow me to introduce myself. I am a Physician in Rochester NY. I treat injured workers. I have recently had a paper accepted for publication
demonstrating that injured workers with chronic pain do fall and suffer serious and even life threatening complications as a result of their chronic painful condition. The falls are not the cause of the workers
underlying impairment. The falls occur as a result of the chronic pain. 60% of my patients with work injuries have fallen! 50 % of the patients injured
in car accidents have fallen. A much smaller percentage of patients with non traumatic chronic back pain have fallen.

The injuries that occur during the falls are serious. They include injuries from head to toe. They include broken bones and concussions. One injured worker fell in the middle of the road (in the summer time) and had to be dragged out of the way of oncoming cars. I have seen 14 patients in my past 5 working days who have fallen. These are falls in the house and cannot be
attributed to ice or bad weather.

I have had workers fall after the insurance carrier denies them medication, a decision usually made by an unlicensed insurance clerk. I have had others fall and suffer injury when the insurance carriers have denied adequate diagnosis.

New York State Health Department has stated their position that "Pain itself is a risk factor for falling." Yet the state turns its back on the injured worker that is suffering further physical harm from falls due to chronic work injuries.

No health care institution would be allowed to stay open if it allowed even a tenth of the number of falls and injuries that occur in the chronically injured worker!

I have been collecting pictures of the injuries suffered by my patients. My catalogue would stand on a par with the pictures that are used to promote
awareness of domestic violence.The injured worker is indeed a victim of a different kind of domestic violence.

My data will be published in April edition of the Journal of Neurologic Rehabilitation (I think that is the name of the journal...I will be presenting a poster presentation in Toronto at the international meeting.)

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