A Comprehensive Look at Workplace Back Injuries

Ohio workers' comp for back injuriesWho hasn’t suffered from back pain? Whether you lift heavy objects or sit at a desk for a living, a severe and debilitating back injury could prevent you from working and require you to apply for Ohio workers’ compensation.

Back pain is a leading cause of disability worldwide. Many of us who have experienced it take a pain reliever and grin and bear it, but if you have a diagnosed, debilitating injury, you shouldn't have to work in pain.

Back Injuries That Can Cause Disability

Back pain is often complicated to diagnose, and sometimes, there's no treatment other than managing the pain until symptoms subside.

To qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, you must see a doctor and, if recommended, get the scans and tests necessary for as complete a diagnosis as possible. If you're approved for workers’ comp, these medical costs are covered.

Workers’ comp claims for back injuries are common, in part because they're a typical outcome following the most common types of workplace accidents—falls, exertion, and auto accidents. Most back injuries fall into one of these categories:

  • Sprains and strains. A sophisticated group of muscles stretches across the back, helping to hold your body upright and contributing to nearly every upper body movement. Tendons and ligaments are the soft tissue that connects bones and to muscle. Repeated strenuous lifting or a sudden awkward move can strain or tear muscles, tendons, and ligaments, causing inflammation and back spasms. Severe lower back pain and difficulty moving could prevent you from working. Back strains and sprains sometimes take several months to heal completely.
  • Herniated disks. Your spine comprises bones called vertebrae. Between each pair of vertebrae is a fluid-filled disk that provides a cushion between the bones. When exertion, twisting and lifting, or age-related wear and tear causes a disk to bulge or rupture, nearby nerves can be irritated—sometimes causing extreme pain, weakness, or numbness in the shoulder, arm, buttocks, or leg. Symptoms may continue for many months, limiting mobility and the ability to work until the fluid dissipates. Treatments may include pain management, cortisone injections, spinal fusion surgery, and alternative medicine.
  • Fractures. A fall or vehicle accident could cause individual vertebra to fracture. When pieces of broken bone embed in nerves or the spinal cord, the injury might cause permanent disability, including paralysis. Treatment may include wearing a brace and limiting motion for six–to–twelve weeks. Sometimes, surgery may be required.

Sometimes, it's difficult to pinpoint the moment a back injury occurs, making it tough to file a work injury report promptly. Back injuries result from multiple factors, including age, physical fitness, and weight. So an employer or the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) may determine that the injury isn't work-related, denying your workers’ compensation.

What a Lawyer May Be Able to Help You Prove

To qualify for workers’ compensation in Ohio, you must have suffered an injury in the course and scope of employment. To be eligible for temporary total disability or permanent total disability, you must show that your back injury prevents you from working, either for the short term or permanently.

I've helped clients with an assortment of back injuries get the compensation they deserve. If you're suffering from back pain you believe was caused by an accident at work—or by repetitive strain in the workplace—contact me soon possible to discuss your workers’ comp claim. You can also download a free copy of my e-book, The Worker’s Guide to Injury Compensation in Ohio to learn more about the workers’ comp system in Ohio.  

 

James Monast
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Fighting for Ohio’s Injured Workers and their Families