If you’re working on a job site, you already know that time is money. It’s tempting to assume that any injuries you experience are relatively minor and that you can just take some ibuprofen, get a good night’s sleep and keep going. That thinking works well until you start hearing a tiny, nagging voice in the back of your mind that tells you maybe you should get checked out by a doctor.
Now, getting poked and prodded by a doctor is never at the top of anyone’s list of things they want to do with their day. At the same time, you don’t want to miss something that could be potentially serious, either.
How to Tell Whether you Need to See a Doctor
Caution: None of the following suggestions are meant to take the place of advice from a medical professional. If you are concerned about an injury that took place on the job, do see a doctor to get a diagnosis and a treatment plan right away. If you wait and hope that a problem will go away on its own, you may end up with a bigger (and more expensive) problem down the road, and no one wants that.
1. You Experience Sudden Pain
It’s not uncommon to experience a certain amount of discomfort if you’ve been standing on your feet for a good part of the day. Stretching and lifting can also lead to some minor muscle aches and strains. You should be able to treat these with some OTC (over the counter medication) and some rest.
When pain starts suddenly and is moderate to severe, it could be a sign of a more serious problem that needs to be checked out by a doctor. If you continue to move the affected joint or area of your body in the same way, you could be causing more damage.
2. You are Unable to Get Full Range of Motion
If you injure yourself and you find that you can’t get full range of motion in your fingers, hand, wrist, arm, shoulder, neck, ankle, knee or hip, see a doctor right away.
3. You Hear Noises When you Try to Move your Joint
A popping or snapping sound in a joint is definitely not normal. Your joints shouldn’t “stick” when you try to move them, either. Make an appointment to see a doctor if you start to notice these kinds of symptoms.
4. You Experience After-effects Following a Head Injury
Monitor how you feel after a fall or if something falls on you on the job. You may not always be aware if you lose consciousness, which merits a trip to the Emergency Room right away.
It’s normal to have a headache after a head injury. If the headache doesn’t start to feel better after taking an OTC pain reliever and getting some rest or gets worse, go to the Emergency Room. Other signs to watch out for following a head injury that merit a trip to the ER would be:
• Delayed response to questions
• Feeling as if you’re in a fog
• Nausea or vomiting
• Ringing in the ears
• Slurred speech
These could be signs of a concussion, or worse, and need further investigation by a medical professional.
You are the person who knows your body best. If something feels out of the ordinary, take the time to see a doctor to find out whether it’s something that needs further treatment. While you don’t like to be away from the job site, ignoring a potentially-serious medical issue could end up with even more time away from work.
When do you think you should go to a doctor to get checked out for a work-related physical concern?