Visitor Question

How do I get a doctor to take me off work for severe pain?

Submitted By: Susanne (Calera, AL)

I injured my back at work (in Alabama) 3 weeks ago.

The doctor kept me off work the first 2 1/2 days, then wrote for me to return to work with no restrictions as I am an office manager (clerical management position).

Then after continuing to have severe pain, he referred me to an orthopedist and restricted my work slightly (no lifting anything over 10 lbs and no pushing or pulling anything over 10 lbs).

I saw the orthopedic specialist, and he sent me for an MRI but did not take me off work yet. I just had the MRI yesterday and I am waiting on my results. I am in such excruciating pain that just to sit, stand or walk puts me in tears. I need to be at home where I can lay down when necessary.

I need to stay home, but I’m not going to unless the doctor takes me off work, as I don’t want to lose my WC benefits. How do I convince the orthopedic doctor to take me off work? What if he sends me back to work despite my pain? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Susanne,

If you think your current orthopedic specialist isn’t treating you appropriately, contact the workers compensation adjuster and ask to see another orthopedic specialist. You have that right. Before doing so, you might once again try discussing your pain with your current orthopedist. It seems unlikely he will ignore your symptoms, especially if the MRI confirms your injury. Once again, if he does, seek out another doctor.

If you can’t work, you can’t work. Your health comes before anything else. If the MRI shows you have suffered a herniated disk or other medical anomaly, it will be difficult for either doctor to deny your symptoms and associated pain. Additionally, if he does continue to deny your symptoms exist, after an MRI makes clear you are truly injured, it’s unlikely a second orthopedic specialist will do the same. If so, there are three considerations.

First: Both doctors are incompetent
Second: The MRI is wrong
Third: You aren’t in the excruciating pain you say your are.

Remember, workers compensation will only pay benefits if the medical records, including diagnosis and prognosis, confirm and support your contentions of injury and inability to work.

Learn more here: Independent Medical Exams

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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