CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Injuries sustained in the workplace are a common occurrence.
For one Coastal Bend man, an back injury almost left him confined to a wheelchair. He credits his doctor, and physical therapy, for regaining his freedom and his independence.
Carl Munz spent 35 years in the medical industry "carting" around patients before hurting his back. He said, little by little, he was losing the ability to move around.
"If you'd seen me a year ago, I was almost next to being in a wheelchair," he said.
Munz had been using a cane and crutches for months. His physician finally got him to go to physical therapy.
According to the Texas Department of Insurance Injuries and Illness, 21 out of every 1,000 working Texans will suffer an injury. The older a person is, the more impacting an injury can be. The Texas Department of State Health Services states that Texans who suffer workplace injuries spend billions of dollars in medical costs every year.
True Care Medical Associates Director Dr. Kusumakar Sooda older workers tend to have more breaks.
"What we see is that the bones generally are weak, so they are osteoporotic or (have) osteopenia, so any small fall, any little thing can cause fractures," he said.
Sooda sees firsthand how some of the most common injuries, such as falls, sprains, and fractures, can have lasting effects. But through physical therapy, many patients can make a full recovery.
"Our idea is to get them to whatever their level of function was before," said physical therapist Bhakti Sooda.
Other common injuries are ACL tears, groin pulls, shin splints, and shoulder issues.
But for Munz, physical therapy is helping him get his life back.
"I'm able to get around and walk," he said. "I can make it all the way through a grocery store. And doing the things I need to keep myself moving."