Also referred to as soft tissue injuries, back and neck injuries should be taken very seriously because even a seemingly minor sprain or strain can develop into something more serious. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), work-related back injuries are the second leading of all workplace injuries, usually resulting from lifting, pushing, or pulling heavy objects. In addition to getting the proper medical attention for your injury, it is crucial that you initiate the Workers’ Compensation claims process.
Back and neck injuries typically result from damage to the muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and/or discs, and can cause severe pain if left untreated. Some of the most common examples of back and neck injuries include the following:
- Herniated, bulging, or slipped disc
- Hernia injuries
- Fractured vertebrae
- Pinched nerves
- Spinal cord damage
- Lower back pain
When one or more vertebrae rub against one other, and the disc that acts as a cushion between each vertebrae has slipped or protruded, the spinal nerves becomes inflamed, causing a great deal of pain. Ligaments are what keep the spinal column in place and allow the spine to bend and twist. When the ligaments become stretched or torn due to overexertion, this can cause extreme discomfort. Muscles also support the spinal column, helping with certain movements like lifting, pulling and pushing. When these muscles are overworked, it can lead to sprains and tears. Finally, the spinal column is made up of thousands of nerve endings that communicate with the brain and the rest of the body. When the spinal cord is damaged, it can often lead to partial or full paralysis, or even death.
Sometimes a back or neck injury happens after one single event, like lifting an object that is too heavy, or twisting your body in a way that strains your back or neck. In other cases, an injury develops over time as a result of persistent, ongoing strain to the muscles, ligaments, and discs that protect the vertebrae. Poor posture when sitting for long periods of time can even cause your back and neck to become weakened or injured. There are two types of neck and back pain:
- Acute pain which comes on quickly and is often very painful, but usually goes away within three to six weeks.
- Chronic pain which may not be as painful as acute pain, but can last for six weeks to many years.
Steps to Take if You Suffer a Back or Neck Injury at Work
If you have been injured at work, notify your employer immediately in order to document the details of the injury. Once you have reported the injury, your employer will provide you with a list of company-approved physicians that you will use. The physician will then evaluate your injuries and make recommendations for treatment, including the necessary referrals to specialists like physical therapists, orthopedists, and chiropractors. When your physician feels that you are able to return to work, you will be given a return to work form.
Based on your injuries, your return to work may be limited to the following:
- Temporary partial disability – You may resume your full job responsibilities after a designated recovery period.
- Permanent partial disability – You may return to work in a limited capacity, or in a position that accommodates your disability.
- Permanent total disability – You will not be able to return to your job in any capacity.
Pain associated with back and neck injuries can be quite severe. Treatment options range from hot or cold compresses and over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, to prescription narcotics like Vicodin. In serious cases, surgery may be required. Costs associated with medications, therapy, and hospital bills can accumulate quickly, so it is crucial that you speak to a skilled Workers’ Compensation lawyer who can initiate the claims process on your behalf.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Employees with Back and Neck Injuries
If you have suffered a back or neck injury at work, the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton know how to navigate the claims process in order to secure the optimal benefits for you and your family. We focus on getting you the financial compensation you deserve so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries. For a free consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.