You love your job, but you do end up doing heavy lifting throughout the day. It’s frustrating to have to work so hard when you’re sore and tired, but you need to work to earn enough money to live comfortably.
You should have listened to your body, though, because during your last shift, you suddenly had severe pain as you tried to lift a box for a colleague. The pain shot down your legs, and it was bad enough that you ended up lying down on the floor.
Your colleague called 911 when they were unable to help you stand, and you were soon taken to the emergency room. You found out that one of your discs had ruptured, leaving you in pain with no possibility to return to work any time soon.
A ruptured spinal disc, also known as a herniated disc, happens when one of the discs between the spinal vertebrae ruptures or moves out of place. A herniated disc can lead to pain, weakness and numbness from the point of the injury downward. Some minor hernitations can heal on their own, but others require surgery.
What are the risk factors for a herniated disc?
There are a few risk factors that play a role in discs herniating. They include your weight, genetics and smoking. The fourth factor is your job. If you have a physically demanding job, then you have a greater risk of back problems.
Pushing, pulling, twisting, repeated lifting and bending can all cause back issues, so it’s important to remember to use good ergonomics and safety techniques to avoid injuring your back.
Are there any severe consequences from a disc herniating?
Sadly, there can be some significant consequences of back injuries including the compression of the spinal cord, severe weakness and paralysis. If you cannot feel your legs or body parts below the point of injury, you may need to go through emergency surgery to take the pressure off the spinal cord. Some other potential complications include:
- Bowel or bladder dysfunction
- Worsening symptoms of pain, weakness or numbness
- Saddle anesthesia, where you lose sensation in the inner thighs, near the rectum and down the back of the legs
If you suffer a severe back injury on the job, you should speak with your employer about filing a claim through workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation should cover your medical care and lost wages, among other financial losses that you may experience from this injury.