No matter how strong your back is, a job involving hard physical labor can cause serious injury. Whether you hurt your back in a single, sudden incident or slowly injured it over time by performing awkward, repetitive motions, a back injury can leave you in agony and unable to perform basic daily tasks like bathing and dressing yourself — let alone go back to work anytime soon.
Doctors in Modesto sort most back injuries into three categories:
- Sprains and strains
- Herniated or bulging disc
- Fracture in one or more vertebra
If the injury is minor enough, you might be able to control the pain and limited movement with medication and exercise. But many back injuries are too severe to work through.
Sprains and strains
The most common type of back injury, these can occur when you pull or twist a tendon, most often from a sudden turn or fall in an accident. You might feel or hear a “pop” before the nearby muscles start to cramp or spasm. Standing up straight and walking might suddenly become difficult, and you likely will feel pain, especially when trying certain movements.
With prompt treatment and rest, most back sprains and strains improve after a couple of days. But sometimes, the injury is so severe that more time and medical care are required.
Your spinal discs are rubbery cushions that sit between the vertebrae in your spinal column. When the softer “jelly” inside a disc starts pushing through the exterior, that is called a herniated or bulging disc. It can irritate nearby nerves, potentially causing severe limb pain, numbness and tingling, and weakness.
Treatment options typically include rest, physical therapy, medication and epidural injections. Surgery is sometimes necessary.
Often the most serious back injury of the three, a crack or gap in your spinal column can cause chronic, debilitating pain. Depending on the size and location of the fracture, you may need surgery or a back brace. Medication and rest are also common.
A severe injury to your back could force you out of work for months. Without the support of workers’ compensation, your family could struggle to pay the bills, especially if you are the primary breadwinner. If you have already applied for workers’ comp and been turned down, you have the right to appeal under California law.