Back injuries can cause more than pain for workers. Heavy laborers, construction workers, health care professionals, and office workers alike may lose time from work after suffering a back injury. A herniated disk, for instance, can involve a wide range of symptoms that can impact productivity and even keep a worker off the clock for an extended period of time.

A herniated disk can press against nerves in the spine causing serious pain and other symptoms. In rare cases, the problematic disc can press against a region in the spinal cord known as the cauda equina, which may require emergency surgery to avoid various levels of paralysis. Disk injuries may develop over a period of time due to repetitive stress and strain from pulling, lifting heavy objects, twisting and other movements of the back. Disks may rupture due to an accident. In some situations, degeneration and a discreet accident may result is a back injury.

Recognizing The Signs Of Disk Injury

Symptoms of a herniated disk can vary from patient to patient, especially related to the degree of injury or the location of the herniation in the back and spine. Symptoms of a herniated disk may include:

Weakness And Difficulties In Movement – The muscles in the back may become weak due to a spinal injury. Weakness in the muscles can, in turn, result in impaired movement or response time. Stumbling, or the inability to hang on to heavier objects may be symptoms of a disk injury.

Pain In The Limbs – The nerves in the upper back typically serve the upper part of the body and the arms. Similarly, the nerves in the lower spine serve the lower region of the body. While pain in the back may be linked to a disk injury, patients may feel pain in the shoulders, arms and hand for upper back injuries. Lower back herniations may result in a pain in the rear, the legs or feet. Pain may be severe, and may also seem to radiate in some cases.

Tingling Or Numbness – Many workers may understand that a pinched nerve can involve intense pain. However, a disk injury can also cause a tingling sensation in the fingers, arms, legs or feet, depending on the location of the injury.

Treatment for a herniated disk may require more than simple rest. Pain relievers, muscle relaxants, cortisone shots, physical therapy and surgery are potential treatment protocols. Surgery may involve a diskectomy or possible spinal fusion. For workers who have suffered a herniated disc or other back injury while on the job, workers’ compensation benefits may be a vital resource. Reporting the injury to your employer, seeking a diagnosis and proper medical care, and obtaining guidance from a lawyer can help workers to protect their ability to seek workers’ compensation benefits.