One of the most common musculoskeletal health conditions affecting the United States workplace today is back pain. When workers sustain back and spinal injuries, both their careers and lives outside of the workplace suffer as a result. They often deal with chronic pain and, occasionally, suffer from mental health issues such as depression or anxiety.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics published these statistics about worker back injuries:
- More than one million workers sustain a back injury each year.
- They amount to one out of every five workers’ compensation claims.
- They make up an estimated 20 percent of all workplace injuries and illnesses.
- Lifting is involved in an estimated 75 percent of cases
- Ergonomics could prevent one out of three back injuries, according to a recent study.
We know that back and spine injuries can have a significant, negative impact on every aspect of your life, from employment and finances to recreation and family life. At Pain Stop MD, we want to end your trips going from doctor to doctor with little or no success in treating your back pain.
Our team can provide you with the right diagnosis and treatment for your acute or chronic back injury. Whether through accident or overuse, we can help workers and federal employees who have been hurt on the job.
Contact our board-certified physician today if you would like to:
- Learn about our services
- Speak with a doctor
- Get a second opinion
- Schedule a consultation
- Get answers about workers’ compensation
- Stop your pain
- Get back to work
Common Workplace Spine and Back Injuries
Back injuries can occur outside the workplace, most commonly from traffic accidents, sports, and other recreational activities. The causes and types often differ. We’ve listed some of the common ones that occur in the workplace.
- Muscle strains. Muscle strains can be caused by both acute events and overuse, and most often affect the lower back. With the help of pain relievers, rest and physical therapy, most muscle strains improve within a month.
- Lumbar sprains. Tears in the tissue that connects bone to the muscle in the back area result in back or lumbar sprains. Your spine is kept functioning and intact by 14 ligaments in the back. Improper lifting or twisting techniques cause these very painful and debilitating back problems.
- Herniated discs. Herniated discs, also known as bulging discs or pinched nerves, can cause great pain and occur when the disc is injured or when degenerations affect surrounding nerves. Treatment can include pain medication, steroid injections, physical therapy, and surgery.
- Broken back. Most broken backs are the result of an acute injury, such as a fall, a car accident, or an industrial accident. They occur when the vertebrae on the upper or lower lumbar region are fractured. Broken backs can be fatal and need immediate medical attention, often requiring surgery.
- Spinal cord damage. Spinal cord injuries occur when the bones of the back are compromised to the point that the spinal cord is damaged or severed. This is a very serious case, which can result in partial paralysis, full paralysis, and death.
Regular Causes of Workplace Back and Spinal Health Problems
There are two major categories: acute and chronic injuries. Singular accidents or incidents, such as a fall or improper lift, result in acute injuries. Repetitive tasks, such as recurrent over-lifting or poor lifting techniques, result in chronic injuries. Improper treatment or healing of acute back issues can also result in chronic back pain.
There are four main causes in the workplace:
- Improper movements
- Slip and fall accidents
- Car accidents
- Whole body vibration
If you begin to notice symptoms of back pain or injury, Getting immediate help is vital so that untreated conditions don’t lead to permanent damage of the vertebrae or nerves.
Healing Your Back and Spine
Back pain affects many of our patients, whether from workplace accidents or overuse on the job. At Pain Stop MD, we use our skill, knowledge and experience to provide testing, diagnosis, and thoughtful treatments and therapies that can help you through your health challenges. Our medical clinic, with the help of our board-certified doctor, offers a full range of treatments, including:
- Pain medications. The best treatment for your back pain may be pain medication. Depending on the severity of your pain, we can prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) or stronger prescription narcotics.
- Lumbar injections. Injections into the back, such as epidural steroid injections, selective nerve root blocks (SNRB), Facet joint blocks and sacroiliac joint blocks, can help heal injuries and alleviate pain.
- Physical therapy. The first step to treatment is managing the back pain and injury. Once managed, our primary goal is helping you regain your strength and range of motion while preventing future injuries through physical therapy. Our regimens include specific exercises, ice and heat treatments, and whirlpool treatments, depending on your injury.
- Surgery. Occasionally, with health problems such as a broken back or herniated disc that causes root pinching, treatment may require surgery in addition to other therapies. The two most common types of back surgery are lumbar decompression surgery, which relieves root pinching, or lumbar fusion surgery, which fuses certain vertebrae together.
Preventing Employees from Getting Hurt on the Job
A third of workplace back and spinal incidents could have been prevented through worker education and safety plans. Minimizing back pain and preventing health problems takes a couple small steps from employers and employees. Some common strategies include:
- Stretching and warming up. Stretching and warming up is important for any physical activity, as many back injuries occur when the back is suddenly engaged. Make sure to ease your muscles into activities like lifting, pulling or pushing.
- Knowing which tasks require repetitive movements. Knowing which tasks require repetitive movements can help you understand how to protect your back from injury. Always use proper lifting techniques, especially when performing tasks that require repetitive motion.
- Carrying less weight. It’s better to take more time to perform a task than to hurt yourself trying to do it all at once. Attempting to carry too much weight is a primary cause for chronic back conditions and chronic back pain. Consult with your employer for how to work efficiently without hurting yourself.
- Working within your capability. Knowing your body’s lifting capabilities can help you assess how to go about working with heavy loads. Employers and employees should discuss what physical requirements are necessary for tasks to be done.
- Using mechanical help. You don’t always have to carry the load yourself. From nurses to construction workers, mechanical aids are available in many professions to help save everyone from pain, inconvenience, and the lost productivity resulting from back problems.
- More training. Education and training is the first step to prevention. New employees should always be trained in regards to common back injuries, back injury prevention, and lifting techniques. If training is not in place, employees speak to their employers, as education will save companies money and workers from pain.
Workers and companies can work together to prevent health problems, setting a goal to make workplace incidents rare and isolated.
Finding the Right Care for You
Chronic back pain can make the simple act of living miserable. Lack of sleep, an inability to work, and financial burdens all contribute to the nightmare of back injuries. You might feel frustrated and hopeless, and might end up dealing with mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
We can help the following workers:
- Federal employees
- Postal workers
- Construction workers
- Office workers and clerks
- Jail and prison workers
- TSA employees
- Registered nurses
- Forest service employees
- Compliance officers
Our mission is to aid all workers and federal employees in the Dallas area to find, regain and retain their health. At Pain Stop MD, we offer diagnosis, treatment, pain medication, injections, physical therapy, and surgery. To schedule a consultation or learn more about our services, book a consultation today.