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All employers play a crucial role in the prevention and management of workplace injuries.
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Information for Psychologists, Occupational Therapists, Nurses, Exercise Physiologists and Doctors.
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Home » Injured Workers » Common Problems with Injury Management » Injured Worker Problems - Looking after yourself

Injured Worker Problems - Looking after yourself



  1. Physical health 


Medication Use/Abuse


After 12 months of injury related symptoms a range of injury related medicines may have been tried to help with pain relief or treatment of associated symptoms. Some of these medications may cause side effects, adverse reactions or interactions with other drugs. Some medicines can cause dependence and tolerance.  It is important to be aware of what medications are for, desired effects and benefits as well as possible side effects, interactions or adverse reactions.  Your own research and discussion with  a health professional  is essential for people taking medications over a prolonged period of time.


Non Prescribed Use


There is also a tendency for  some injured workers to use prescribed or legal medications outside of guidelines leading to risks of adverse reactions and side effects.   Similarly some prescribed medications used socially or combined with alcohol and cigarettes are sometimes used excessively by injured workers who are struggling to cope with their situation or injury.  Illicit drugs normally  used sparingly by some people may be used increasingly after an injury for their analgesic effect - e.g. marijuana, however drug interactions, dependence are possible and a risk worthy of careful consideration.


Don’t stop physical activity:   Substantial Injuries rarely affect only the injured body part. They affect the ease of performing activities of daily living and through problems such as sleep deprivation and associated depression have the effect of lowering  motivation and the drive to be active.  In turn general physical deconditioning occurs and can be associated with other health issues ( such as obesity), particularly when diet and food intake regulation is neglected. 

It is essential to maintain a reasonable level of health and fitness.  Discussion with your NTD or another health professional can be very helpful for coming up with options you can do despite your injury such as a supervised exercise program.



2.       Social Disengagement

Don’t abandon your social network.   People who are injured often find they can’t do things they use to like to  play sports or other recreational activities. Frequently new activities have not been taken up.  Hobbies and interests are often a source of meeting new people and to develop friendships.  Many injured workers who aren’t able to participate in activities they used to, prior to injury, haven’t taken up new activities in the first 12 months and tend to become socially isolated.  Depression and anxiety can compound the tendency to want social withdrawal and isolation.


What you need to consider:


  • Don’t isolate yourself 
  • Reach out to people you are comfortable with and who care
  • Develop new hobbies and interests



3.       Your Mental Health


 Secondary Psychological Problems 


Many injured workers  go on to develop anxiety and depression due to ongoing injury  compounding quality of life issues. It is  important to communicate concerns to friends and family rather than bottle up emotions such as anger and sadness. Referral via your NTD for psychological support can be helpful when issues do not seem to be resolving and there are more significant challenges ahead.


Family dynamics - People who have sustained a substantial injury often can’t do things as they use to at home and need assistance and support.  Often  the injured person’s way of dealing with their injury is not helpful with family relationships. They may experience heightened irritability, anger, experience mood swings, and withdraw  and this can put strain on relationships. Psychological and rehabilitation support is often essential when injury symptoms  impact on the lives of family members.


Concentration and memory - People experiencing chronic and acute pain, sleep depression, injury related agitation and depression have problems concentrating and remembering all they need to do. Use of a diary and doing  fewer things over a longer time frame,  are steps towards accommodating and adjusting to injury, and temporary impaired concentration difficulties.


Getting the balance right  The secret to longer term injury management is getting the balance right  - doing  too much and reinjuring  or becoming overwhelmed, v’s doing little or  losing further function.


Accepting the need for help - An injury and changed life circumstance that goes on for a year, poses many significant challenges for most people, and can often be overwhelming. Support and guidance is often essential in navigating the various obstacles, physically,  psychologically and with the system.  Don’t be afraid to seek help and guidance when you need it.





In first instance contact:


  • The Insurer Agent for non-payment issues such as wages, travel expenses, medications not being paid or not on time.
  • WorkCover’s Hotline.  A call to Workcover has been known to speed up processing times considerably. The Workcover Hotline is also useful for delays in approval for specialist referrals, surgery, and for investigative procedures.
  • Your NTD as is the first port of call for medical or treatment issues - you need to let them know what is happening and of changes in your physical or psychological health



Your Solicitor can help:


  • For denial of claim if you believe your claim is valid and declination is unreasonable,
  • For treatment expenses being refused after efforts are made. To discuss and negotiate with the Agent if the  NTD or other professional involved in service have failed
  • To claim for lump sum for impairment
  • To make a common law claim if impairment is significant and employer may have been negligent


The Workplace Rehabilitation Provider can help:


  • With travel expenses
  • Accessing home help
  • Assessing your workplace for ways to allow you to go back to work without the risk of reinjuring
  • Negotiating suitable duties with your employer and NTD
  • Helping to identify your longer term functional restrictions and ways of minimising them
  • Identifying alternate work directions when you can’t return to your pre-injury employment
  • Finding alternative work for you
  • Accessing and follow up of treatments progress



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