Back injuries are the second most common workplace injury, according to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OHSA).
The most common work related back injuries include:
- Lower back strain
- Pinched nerves
- Fractured vertebrae
- Bulging, herniated, and slipped discs
- Spinal cord damage
The majority of work related back injuries are caused by twisting or over-extension of the spine due to pulling, pushing, heavy lifting, or poor posture. Work-related back injuries are often painful and require prolonged treatment and involve long recovery periods.
Causes of Back Pain
Back pain caused by a workplace injury can have various causes. It can occur from a single act such as lifting a heavy box or from persistent and gradual strain on the spinal disks, muscles or ligaments. Repetitive motion such as pulling, pushing, lifting, loading and poor posture too can cause the back to become strained.
Acute and Chronic Back Pain
Acute back pain is the one that comes quickly and diminishes within 3-6 weeks. It may be excruciating, but it is temporary. On the other hand, chronic back pain lasts for more than six weeks and may be present for years and even a lifetime. Our spinal column is made of 24 moving and 9 fused vertebrae. Each of the moving vertebrae is line by a disc that acts as a cushion. The discs are filled with fluid and work as shock absorbers. A work-related back injury can case one of the disks to herniate, and without the disks the vertebrae rub against each other causing inflammation of the spinal nerves and intense pain. Another type of back injury results when the ligaments of dense tissue that keep the spinal column in place and allow it to twist and bend get damaged due to overextension. The ligaments can tear or stretch out of place causing intense pain and discomfort. The sides of the vertebrae are lined by muscles that extend up and down the spinal column. These muscles help in pulling, pushing and lifting heavy objects. These muscles too can suffer tears, sprains and overextension. The spinal cord is composed of thousands of nerve endings that transmit messages between the brain and body. The spinal cord is protected by the spinal column, and an injury to the spinal cord can have catastrophic effects and may lead to paralysis and in worse cases, death. All these injuries can cause intense and long lasting pain that requires medical treatment and time off from work.
Treatment for Back Pain
Treatment for back injuries depends on their severity. While minor injuries may require mild treatment such as a cold compress, more serious ones may require extensive treatment and even surgery. For severe back pain, doctors may prescribe narcotic pain killers, physical therapy, and ultrasound therapy.
Workers Compensation Benefits for Back Pain
If your back pain is a result of workplace injury or repetitive motion, you can claim benefits under Missouri worker compensation system. Get in touch with an experienced attorney at the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann for more information about receiving the benefits you are entitled to.
Call (314) 361-4300 for a free case evaluation.