Is your aching back a work injury?

On Behalf of | Sep 14, 2022 | Workers' Compensation

If a North Carolina worker is involved in a motor vehicle collision or other on-the-job accident, the result might be that he or she suffers injuries that are immediately noticeable, such as a broken arm, lacerations or contusions. If you find yourself in such circumstances, the priority is always to seek medical attention. However, it’s possible to suffer a work injury and not realize it right away.

For instance, if you have been experiencing pain or discomfort in your lower back, you might not realize that there could be a connection with your condition and the heavy boxes that you often lift at work. Then again, if you were in the middle of lifting an object at work when acute pain shot through your back, this, too, is a sign that you have suffered a back injury.

Several types of work injury affect the lower back

Whether you notice symptoms during or shortly after lifting heavy objects at work or your symptoms develop over time, it is important to note that there are several types of work injuries that may affect your lower back, including strains, sprains and disc herniation. The following list shows multiple symptoms that you might experience if you have hurt your back at work:

  • Pain that increases when you move
  • Trouble standing, walking or bending
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Numbness on tingling
  • Cramps or spasms in your muscles or lower back

You might also notice swelling or inflammation near the site of your work injury, and that area on your skin might be warm to the touch. Any of these symptoms merits a visit to your primary care physician or a hospital.

Treatment plans to help you recover from a back injury

It’s important to inform your medical team that you had been lifting heavy objects at work before the onset of your symptoms. This alerts the doctor as to what type of examination to do and tests to run to form a correct diagnosis. From there, one can develop a treatment plan, which might include pain relief medications, physical therapy or surgery.

If your work injury becomes a chronic condition

Even a back injury that you initially believe is “minor” can become a chronic adverse health condition, especially if you are in a lot of pain. Such conditions can be devastating when additional health problems arise in connection with the primary injury. For instance, taking prescription pain medication is addicting for many people, which can lead to all sorts of mental, physical and financial problems.

If your work injury has prevented you from returning to the work place, you might need to enlist home health care support, as well as seek financial relief to help make ends meet when medical bills are coming in but a paycheck is not. The workers’ compensation program can provide benefits to cover medical expenses, replace lost wages and provide general financial assistance to a worker who is recovering from a work injury.