Workers' comp approval for spinal cord stimulators for chronic back painA workplace fall or other accident has left you with chronic back pain. Physical therapy and pain medication haven't solved the problem, so your physician recommends implanting a spinal cord stimulator (SCS). You're willing to try anything that will stop the pain and get you mobile again, but you're worried about the procedure and the cost.

If you're collecting workers' comp for the back injury and your doctor orders SCS, it should be covered by workers' compensation. Here's what you should know.


How Spinal Cord Simulators Work

It may sound like a space-age medical device, but the idea behind SCS is actually simple. A small device, similar to a heart pacemaker, is implanted in the lower back. Tiny wires called electrodes are placed in the space between the vertebrae and the spinal cord. When the patient feels pain, he uses a remote control device to send electrical impulses from the device to the spinal cord, blocking further pain signals from reaching the brain. The implantation process is minimally invasive, and for some patients, it is an effective treatment.

However, not everyone is a candidate for SCS, and uninsured patients can pay as much as $50,000 out of pocket for the device and implantation. That is why it's so important to make sure your workers' comp claim will cover it. This will likely involve the recognition of specific conditions in your claim.            

Why You May Need the Help of an Attorney

Back injuries can be tricky workers' comp claims. Because debilitating back pain is often the result of wear and tear over time, it's sometimes hard to connect the injury to a specific workplace incident. Even if you can document a fall or other on-the-job accident and connect it to your chronic back pain, a Bureau of Workers' Compensation doctor could claim you had an underlying degenerative condition and that your resulting disability wasn't caused solely by the workplace accident. This argument could come up again when you request coverage for SCS implantation.

However, as your workers' comp attorney, I'll gather the evidence to support coverage of the treatment you need to relieve your back pain.

Learn more about the workers' comp process and getting approval for treatment by requesting a download of my free book, The Worker's Guide to Injury Compensation in Ohio. Then, call me to discuss SCS implantation or any other concerns about your workers' comp claim. 


James Monast
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Board-Certified Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Columbus, Ohio