Any job-related back injury can significantly complicate an individual’s life. Dealing with the pain, trying to figure out how to get things done while in recovery, and workers’ compensation to protect individuals who are injured on the job, getting them healthy without the stress of worrying about losing money from missing work.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or O.S.H.A, a job-related injury is one that either contributed to or is caused by something in the work environment that injures an individual or exacerbates/worsens a previous injury. This is a general overview of the definition, and there are some exceptions. For example, being at the place of work as a general public citizen and not working when an injury happens will not be covered. If not sure whether a back injury is job-related, it’s better to be cautious and report the incident as soon as it happens.
Common Back Injuries
Back injuries are the most common job-related injuries. Back injuries are the number one reason individuals cannot work, whether they hurt their back at home or on the job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that nearly 40% of all musculoskeletal injuries that resulted in lost workdays were because of back injuries. The most common back injuries include:
- Herniated Discs
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Vertebral Fractures
Every state’s workers’ compensation program is different; however, the basic components are the same throughout. This means that if a workers’ compensation claim is approved and an individual cannot work because of their injury, they can expect to receive a regular base salary during treatment, rehabilitation, and recovery. Individuals also continue to receive medical coverage through the company, while the workers’ compensation fund should pay for treatment and diagnostics related to the injury.
When A Back Injury Occurs at Work
When a back happens at work, inform the employer as soon as possible. Do not be embarrassed or feel as it is not a big deal to seek workers’ compensation. It is an insurance program for both the individual and the employer. An employer pays into the state’s workers’ compensation program for limited liability when employees get injured. Individuals don’t pay for the program, but it protects the individual in case something happens.
Letting an injury go untreated might not be anything at first, but months and years later, it can come back and be worse than when it first happened, causing greater damage, added medical costs, and procedures that the individual has to pay for out of their pocket.
Once an individual knows they have a back injury, it is recommended to seek treatment as soon as possible to prevent worsening the injury or create new ones and develop a treatment, rehabilitation, and strengthening program. If an individual needs emergency care, tell the doctors about the work injury and precisely what happened. Emergency medical care should be sought out when:
- There is a loss of function in any of the limbs.
- There is a persistent numbness with the back pain.
- There is nausea, dizziness, or vomiting after the injury.
- There is a fever with back pain.
- Loss of consciousness.
- Loss of bowel or bladder control.
If the injury is not immediate and progresses gradually, but suspect that it is from work, it should be reported and examined by a medical professional.
Proper treatment for a back injury depends on the severity of the injury. Those that prefer non-invasive, medication-free treatment are able to recover with chiropractic or physical therapy. Chiropractic doctors are experts in the spine and the musculoskeletal system. Chiropractic treatment is safe, proven, and can help relieve the pain, restore function, to get back to work safely.
Resistance workouts are made to stress the muscles resulting in muscle gain. Resistance exercise makes the body adapt by growing the muscles to make them more capable of handling intense forces without strain. The stress of resistance exercise causes the muscle fibers to tear at the cellular level. Then, special muscle cells, known as satellite cells, jump into action to repair, rebuild, and grow the muscle. These types of exercises include high-intensity workouts or compound exercises that increase muscle growth. However, there needs to be a healthy balance between workouts and rest to support healthy hormone levels and maximize muscle gain.
There are three primary hormones that stimulate muscle hypertrophy. They are:
- Insulin-like growth factor 1 IGF-1
- Growth hormone GH
Muscle protein synthesis is a critical process in muscle hypertrophy and happens after weight training. The hormones signal to the muscle to repair and rebuild after workout sessions. GH is released in high quantities during sleep, which is why proper sleep is needed to help reach body composition goals. When nutrition, workouts, and hormonal effects are combined, muscle-building happens. Figuring out the right balance is essential for reaching health goals.
Burton, A K, and E Erg. “Back injury and work loss. Biomechanical and psychosocial influences.” Spine vol. 22,21 (1997): 2575-80. doi:10.1097/00007632-199711010-00021
Marjorie L Baldwin, Pierre Côté, John W Frank, William G Johnson, Cost-effectiveness studies of medical and chiropractic care for occupational low back pain: a critical review of the literature, The Spine Journal, Volume 1, Issue 2, 2001, Pages 138-147, ISSN 1529-9430, doi.org/10.1016/S1529-9430(01)00016-X.(https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S152994300100016X)
Randall, Sara. “1. Avoiding back injury.” The practicing midwife vol. 17,11 (2014): 10, 12-4.
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