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Arthritis & Degenerative Disc Disease – Workers’ Comp Claims

Arthritis and Degenerative Disc Disease are generally covered under Workers’ Comp

arthritisFor the purpose of workers compensation, degenerative disc disease and arthritis usually fall into the category of pre-existing injuries. According to Missouri workers’ compensation law, when a work-related injury reactivates, aggravates, or accelerates a person’s degenerative disc disease or arthritis, he/she has a right to file for workers’ compensation benefits.

Workers’ compensation cases involving arthritis and degenerative disc disease are usually complex, because there is a considerable amount of misinformation regarding workers’ rights, many workers are confused about how to obtain benefits for an aggravation or acceleration of a per-existing injury. Here is a brief guide to these conditions.

Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease is a common condition that causes serious neck pain and lower back. It is a widespread condition, because almost everyone experiences it due to degeneration of spinal discs over time. With age, a person’s spinal discs lose the ability to absorb shock properly. A workplace injury can aggravate the degenerative disc disease. The pain experienced by the person is usually the result of back or neck injury not the condition itself.

Degenerative disc disease is not a disease in itself, but a condition caused by a damaged spinal disc including a slipped disc, herniated disc, or ruptured disc or a tear in the external core of the disc.


Arthritis is a common condition of the joints that causes pain and in severe cases may restrict mobility of the affected joints. The term arthritis means “joint inflammation”. It usually describes a number of conditions that affect the joints and the surrounding tissues including connective tissues. The various types of arthritis are:

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Gout
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE or lupus)

Persons suffering from arthritis may experience varied symptoms that can occur all of a sudden or gradually. The most common symptoms of arthritis are swelling, stiffness, pain, and redness, around one or more joints such as knees, hands, wrists, and shoulders. Arthritis can also limit the functioning of the affected joints and the supportive body structures.

Workers’ Comp Involving Arthritis & Degenerative Disc Disease

There are certain jobs that put extra stress and strain on the back and neck. People performing such jobs are more likely to suffer acceleration or aggravation of conditions such as degenerative disc disease or arthritis. Common jobs that can aggravate these conditions are those involving repetitive stress motion including typing, bar code scanning, assembly line work, sedentary jobs, and those involving high impact activity such manual labor.

Such conditions are generally covered under workers’ comp. However, insurance companies often try to deny claims or pay out less than what workers deserve. If you are having a hard time convincing the insurance company about your arthritis or degenerative disc disease, you should immediately consult a knowledgeable Missouri workers’ comp lawyer. To schedule a free consultation with a workers’ compensation attorney with over 30 years of experience, contact the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann by calling (314) 361-4300.

Work Related Injuries

photo credit: handarmdoc via Flickr

Updated: April 23, 2021