2 Root Causes of Workplace Back Injuries

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Both Workplace Accidents and Overuse Cause Serious Back Pain

Maybe your back spasmed suddenly after an accident at work; or maybe years of repetitive lifting, twisting, bending, or sitting have finally caught up with you. In either case, you may qualify for workers’ compensation in the state of Georgia.

First, let’s take a closer look at two key categories of back injuries.

#1. Accidental Injuries

A workplace mishap—caused perhaps by carelessness, lack of signage or a supervisor’s assigning you a task that you weren’t physically strong enough to handle—suddenly and obviously debilitated you. For example, you slipped on a wet floor, or a heavy load fell as you lifted it. Injuries of this kind can cause back strain, muscle tears, or painful muscle spasms. Despite their excruciating nature, these injuries are often more straightforward than cumulative injuries, because they can be traced back to a single incident.

Acute Trauma Can Still Cause Persistent Pain

A crisis that takes minutes or even seconds to unfold can have profound repercussions—and it’s often hard to predict what will happen long term. For instance, a broken back—caused by a two-story fall off construction scaffolding—might heal in just a few months. A more minor-seeming problem, such as a slipped disk, can cause shooting pain that lasts for years because it’s continually putting pressure on the nerves in your back. (Learn more about how to recognize a slipped disk here.)

#2. Overuse Injuries
Any physical task–from lifting a heavy box to sitting all day at a desk–can cause back pain if you do it too much. Up to 90% of people experience back pain at some point. Most of these cases are due to overuse rather than a traumatic accident.

Work Can Exacerbate Pre-Existing Back Problems

Repetitive work overloads specific muscles in the back, making it more difficult for them to recover from strain. This can exacerbate problems like arthritis, scoliosis, and osteoporosis, weakening your back and leaving it vulnerable to injury. Given time, overuse injuries can be just as painful as accidental injuries. (Learn how to prevent overuse injuries at work here.)

Injuries caused by workplace accidents and overuse both can qualify you for workers’ compensation in Georgia. To learn more about your options, contact Smith, Wallis and Scott, LLP.

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