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Psychological Injury and the Injured Worker

One focus of the Behavioral Medicine Associates program of care is on the needs of the injured worker.  Work related injuries often involve a behavioral component that requires treatment.  Programs of pain management and lifestyle adjustment enable patients to return to work sooner, with less disability.  It is well documented that ongoing, chronic pain results in significant psychological and behavioral dysfunction.  Workers injured on the job who experience persistent pain require direct behavioral intervention.  The impact of being out of work, losing one’s identity and coping with the results of a physical injury can be devastating.

With treatment, workers can learn specific skills to cope with pain and to develop the skills necessary to adapt to their injuries.  Treatment enables workers to develop the “emotional muscle” necessary to rehabilitate and return to a productive life.

It would be difficult to conceive of a physical injury in which there was not psychological sequella.  Aside from the pain and limitations imposed by the injury, the patient is confronted with financial, occupational, family, parenting, and social limitations that must be assessed, quantified, reported and treated.

Many work related injuries have a direct psychological/behavioral component

BMA was proud to treat many workers who were victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks.  We are pleased that the majority have been able to return to work, and continue to lead active and productive lives.  Workers who are involved in incidents that result in direct behavioral/emotional problems can be successfully treated.

BMA works together with the employee, the family, and often with the union or group to assist these workers in returning to their pre-accident level of functioning. Primarily, Cognitive-Behavioral treatments are used to help those injured.  These treatments provide skills, and concrete behavioral techniques that can be used to regain behavioral and emotional functioning.

BMA is dedicated to providing the injured worker with the most effective program of care.  Helping an injured man or woman return to work, enabling them to maintain their dignity and sense of self-respect is one of our most important missions.

Beyond the physical – healing the mind & soul

The injured workers we treat suffer from psychological injuries; these injuries are independent of their physical pain, from their broken bones, strained muscles and aching backs.  These psychological injuries result from the impairment they experience due to loss of self-esteem, loss of pleasure, psycho-social dysfunction, financial crisis, and ultimately, the crushing of their hopes and dreams.

Treating physical injury and pain is necessary for workers with physical problems; resolution of these problems, however, does not assure resolution of their problems.  Workers may be left with a diminished capacity to interact with others, with layers of anxiety and depressive concerns and with behavioral changes that can impede their function and progress if not directly addressed by behavioral treatment.

BMA does not treat necks, backs, shoulders or arms.  We do not treat broken bones, herniated discs or torn ligaments.  We evaluate and treat the psychological injuries workers experience when the life they knew, that they worked so hard to obtain, is taken from them as a result of a workplace injury.

This is not a consequential issue; the instant a worker is injured, psychological factors begin to develop that can result in problems that require behavioral care.  Not all falls require surgery, physical therapy or pain management. Similarly, not all workplace injuries require behavioral treatment.  BMA treats those injured workers who cannot return to their normal state of functioning due to emotional/behavioral/psychological reasons.