Why people downplay injuries and don’t see a doctor

If you get hurt on the job, your first instinct may actually be to downplay your injury as much as possible. You’ll try to walk it off. You’ll tell everyone that you’re fine. You’ll attempt to go back to work.

This can be a massive problem. If you need medical treatment, it’s better to get it right away. If you need to file a workers’ compensation claim, it’s also important to report the injury immediately. You don’t want to try to ignore it for weeks, months or even years. Doing so just puts your health at risk and makes the whole situation even more complicated than it needs to be.

So, why do people do this? Here are a few potential reasons:

1. You think you’ll just heal and the pain will stop without medical assistance.

You feel like going to the doctor is a hassle. If it’ll just go away on its own, why worry about it? At least, that’s what you ask yourself. This is misguided because you have no idea if or when it will heal on its own, but you assume it will and misjudge the severity.

2. People have always told you to be tough.

Maybe it was your parents. Maybe it was a basketball coach. Maybe it was a gym teacher. Maybe it was some combination of all of the above. People have always told you to be tough and grit your teeth, and you think that’s how you’re supposed to act. You know you’re hurt, but you try to act like you’re not so that others will see just how tough you are.

3. You don’t want to stop working or doing what you love.

Maybe you have a physical job, and you know that getting medical treatment may mean you can’t work, whereas gutting it out means you can. Or, maybe you have hobbies like running or swimming. You really don’t want to set your training back with a recovery time. Either way, you don’t want to get treatment because of the way that it inhibits your life.

4. You’re scared of complex medical procedures.

The thought of going in for surgery worries you more than the injury itself. You don’t want to do it. You figure that hoping the injury heals in time is better than getting treatment — even though you’re actually risking some long-term problems by not having surgery.

Don’t make excuses

The thing to remember here is that these are just excuses. Don’t fall for them. Never downplay a workplace injury. Find out what medical treatment options you have and how to get workers’ compensation to help cover all of your costs.

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