Lumbar Disc Replacement and Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Lumbar disc replacement surgery is designed to replace the ruptured disc with an artificial one, thus eliminating the pain and allowing you to move freely again.
Lower back pain is a commonly reported injury related to the Missouri workplace. Lumbar disc replacement is a surgical method of relieving that pain and restoring mobility to the individual. By using a mechanical device to replace a worn or herniated disc, motion is restored to the spine and in most cases, the Missouri worker can return to their job with the same capabilities as before the injury.
There are thousands of Missouri workers affected by lower back injuries each year. Lumbar disc replacement is accepted as a viable option for treating that injury, and yet not all workers are given the opportunity. If non-surgical methods of treating a herniated disc in the lower back have not worked for you, and you are being denied additional treatments and surgery, contact the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann. Our legal team has a strong history of helping injured workers get the medical attention and financial compensation that they need.
What Causes Lower Back Pain and Herniated Discs
For shock absorption and flexibility, your spinal vertebra contain discs in between each of the bones. These discs are compromised of a flexible outer ring encasing a soft jelly like core. When that core begins to push on the outer ring from overuse or a sudden injury, you will begin to feel a chronic pain in your lower back.
Herniated discs, also called slipped or ruptured discs, occur most often in the lower quadrant of the spine. Not only can they cause debilitating pain in the back, if located near the sciatica nerve, that pain could radiate down the leg. That condition will worsen if the disc were to rupture, allowing the inner core to seep out.
These types of hernias are caused by excessive pressure to the area from any number of work related activities including:
- sitting for long periods of time
- pulling or lifting heavy objects
- frequently bending and twisting the back
- exposure to constant vibrations
- other repetitive motions that affect the lower back
With the large number of work related risk factors being known to cause a herniated disc in the lower back, almost any Missouri employee is susceptible to this type of injury. Lumbar disc replacement surgery is designed to replace the ruptured disc with an artificial one, thus eliminating the pain and allowing you to move freely again.
What is Lumbar Disc Replacement Surgery?
Lower back pain patients who are not responding to non-surgical methods of repairing a herniated disc can find relief from a lumbar disc replacement. Unlike lumbar fusion, which uses bone grafting to connect the vertebrae and eliminate the need of a disc, replacement surgery will utilize a mechanical device to emulate the function of the disc. This method is preferred by patients as it allows for them to remain fully flexible in the lower back. Also, since there is no bone healing involved with the surgical procedure, you should be able to stand and walk the next day. Even with rehabilitation however, the length of time to full recovery and return to normal work duties can range from weeks to months.
Lumbar Disc Replacement and Work Comp Benefits
The first hurdle with lumbar disc replacement and your employer’s work comp carrier may be in convincing them that the injury is work related. Because of the frequency of lower back pain and the large number of causes, it is possible for an insurance company to insist that the condition is pre-existing and not related to your occupation. In this case, James M. Hoffmann can work with you to help present compelling evidence to prove your claim and allow you to receive your work comp benefits for the treatment of a herniated disc.
If it is the surgery that is being denied, you do have the right to request a second opinion and appeal the decision of your employer. This is a complicated process similar to a court case, necessitating the expertise of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to walk you through it.Contact the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann today at (314) 361-4300 or fill out our online contact form to request a free and private consultation.