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Back Injuries in Maryland Workers Comp

Back injuries are frequent work injuries I see in Maryland workers’ compensation.  That makes sense considering there on average over 1,000,000 work-related back injuries in the United States every year.

The spine is the “electrical system” that fuels body movement. The spine is made of bones called vertebrae. There is a soft material between these vertebrae and that soft material is called discs.  The spine is made up of three major segments:  cervical spine, thoracic spine, and lumbar spine.  The cervical spine is considered your neck area, thoracic spine is considered you mid back, and the lumbar spine is considered the low back.

Five Most Common Causes of Maryland Back Work Injuries

Improper Training:  This happens often in warehouses and distribution centers.  Warehouses and distribution centers are busy workplaces.  Many jobs in these facilities involve heavy lifting.  Since they are busy, many times trainers may skip over simple, quality lifting techniques.  That is sad, because it could save employers a ton of money in work-related injury claims.   Strength doesn’t matter if lifting technique are poor or awkward.  It is the body movement that causes injuries.

Heavy Lifting:  Even with proper lifting techniques, some workers are required to lift 50 or more pounds.  At any time, that heavy weight could cause a strain/sprain or spinal injury. Heavy lifting is by far the number one reason my clients suffer work-related back injuries.

Slip & Falls:  These happen frequently in inclement weather.  They also happen on building floors, when a worker slips or trips over material on the floor or there is something sticking out when someone is carrying something.  These events sometimes cause workers to fall to the floor and trike their tailbone area which causes significant low back pain.  Back injuries also occur because of awkward twisting.

Pro Longed Sitting:  As the American work force ages, so does the development of degenerative disc disease and sciatica.  Pro longed sitting can flare or exacerbate those conditions.

Blunt Force Trauma:  This happens when some item directly impacts the injured worker’s back.  One example is a fork lift or pellet jack backing into an injured worker and impacting their low back.  It can result in items falling and hitting the injured worker in the back.  It happens often.

Five Most Common Back Work Injuries:

Lumbar Strains/Sprains:  Typically, most back injuries that are accepted by the workers’ compensation insurance carrier will list this generic title.  Often, the low back injury is a strain/sprain that will just take some time to heal.   Most heal over a short amount of time, but some do not quickly resolve and required medical treatment.

Bulging and herniated discs:  As stated above, in between each vertebrea is a soft material called a disc.  When one of these discs slips out of place or is damaged, it can lead to a great deal of pain and dysfunction.  At times when these discs are ruptured, they may infringe on a nerve root, which causes radiating pain or numbness and tingling down one or both legs.

Fractured Vertebrea:  These types of injuries usually occur with blunt force trauma, auto accidents, or falling.  They can require extensive medical treatment.

Pinched Nerve:  A nerve becomes pinched from some twisting movement.  They can be quite painful and disabling and can take significant time to resolve.

Aggravation of Degenerative Disc Disease:  Many times I have injured workers who come see me because their work injury was denied.  The reason it was denied was because the medical record mentioned degenerative disc disease.  Yet, the injured worker tells me that he/she never had any back pain.  Don’t worry.  This is common.  As we age, we all begin to develop degenerative conditions in our spine. It comes from years of use and even genetics.  However, many workers have no back pain and have no idea they even have a degenerative condition.  Until the work injury occurs.  Remember in Pennsylvania, aggravation of a pre-existing condition, whether symptomatic or not, is a compensable work injury.

Common Jobs for Work-related Back Injuries

Nursing employees, from nursing home care assistant to registered nurses

Warehouse workers, such as Loaders, Stock Clerks, and Order Selectors

Laborers, including many construction place laborers

Maintenance workers, Cleaning workers such as janitorial staff

Truck Drivers

Landscapers/Lawn Workers

Construction crews

Common Treatment for Work-related Back Injuries

Injured workers are often sent home form initial treatment with an application of hot and cold compresses.  This is usually the first treatment remedy.

Medication:  Many workers who injured their back are provided medications to help alleviate the pain and condition.  Often times it may be a combination of an anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxer, and a steroid.

Physical Therapy:  Many injured workers will go through a regiment of physical therapy that many include exercises, aquatic therapy, occupational therapy, home exercises, and more.

Injections:  Some injured workers who do not get relief from more conservative treatment modalities may have a few injections.

Surgery:  For more severe cases, a back injury may lead to surgery.

Employers frequently deny back injuries.  Quite frankly, it is because they can be quite expensive to treat.  They can also lead to significant loss of time at work.  If you suffered a back injury at work and have been denied workers compensation benefits, fight back.  Call Mooney Law today for an absolutely free consultation. We have collected tens of millions of dollars on behalf of injured workers in Pennsylvania and Maryland.  We are experienced, trusted and proven.  Call today at 717-200-HELP or 833-MOONEYLAW.  You can also email us at info@mooney4law.com.  You can also visit us on the web at www.mooney4law.com.