The Most Common Back Injuries People Get at Work

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Common Back Injuries and Their Surprising Workplace Causes

Strains, sprains, and muscle tears are the most common workplace injuries that keep people from work in the United States. Although they affect every industry, the most vulnerable people labor in physically demanding jobs in transportation, warehousing, agriculture, forestry, and healthcare.

Pulled Muscle

If you overuse a back muscle–either in a single, stressful incident or by repeating the same movement over and over–you may strain it. Twisting is especially stressful for the back, so even office workers who swivel frequently between tasks risk pulling a lower back muscle.

Sprained Back

If you expose a back ligament to intense stress–again, either through repetitive movement, like moving boxes, or a single incident–it may tear. A torn back ligament, or a back sprain, takes longer to heal than a pulled muscle.

Pulled muscles and sprained backs are the most common causes of lower back pain; fortunately, though they might not feel like it, they’re also the easiest to treat. Most strains will heal naturally in several weeks, although physical therapy can prevent future injuries. (Learn more about identifying and treating lumbar sprains and pulled muscles here.)

Slipped Disk

A slipped disk, or hernia, is the result of overexertion (e.g. from lifting a hospital patient). The disk protrudes from the spine and pinches adjacent nerves, causing lower back pain and sciatica. (Learn more about recognizing the symptoms of a slipped disk here.)

 Broken Vertebrae

There’s nothing subtle about a broken spine, nor much surprising about what causes it. Workplace accidents, often in dangerous industries like manufacturing and farming, can break the bones in the vertebrae, sometimes leading to chronic back pain that lasts for years.

 Spinal Cord Injury

Damage to the nerves of the spinal cord causes loss of sensation, loss of function, and, sometimes, even paralysis.

Navigating a workplace injury can be an overwhelming undertaking. We’re here to help you get compensation, so you can focus on getting better. To learn more, contact Smith, Wallis and Scott, LLP.

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