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How a herniated disk suffered at work can affect your life

On Behalf of | Dec 16, 2020 | Workers' Compensation

Whether it gradually built up over time or happened in a terrible accident, a back injury suffered on the job somewhere in the Twin Cities metro area can be incredibly painful and debilitating. A worker without a strong, flexible, pain-free back can do very little. Even sitting at a desk can be agonizing.

The spinal cord is protected by bones called vertebrae. Between the vertebrae sit pieces of cartilage called disks. They have two parts: a soft interior (called the nucleus) and a tougher exterior (known as the annulus). Spinal disks act as shock absorbers for the spine. They also help hold the spine together and help it bend slightly.

How a healthy disk becomes herniated

But when the nucleus pushes through a tear in the annulus, it can irritate a nerve. This is what doctors call a herniated disk. It’s also commonly known as a slipped disk. Pressure from the nucleus on the nerve can cause the following symptoms:

  • Pain in an arm or leg. This depends on whether the ruptured disk is in your lower or middle back or your neck.
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Muscle weakness

These symptoms usually affect one side of the body only. So your left leg could be affected, but your right leg would probably be fine.

What job duties can cause a slipped disk?

There are several factors that put people at risk of a herniated disk. Having a physically demanding job is one of the biggest risk factors, especially if your job involves repetitive lifting, pulling, and pushing heavy objects. Frequently having to twist your torso and bend sideways can also increase your chances of a slipped disk.

People who suffer a herniated disk or other back injuries through their work may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits under Minnesota law. But the process of getting approved for the level of benefits you are entitled to can be challenging. The knowledge and representation of a workers’ compensation attorney can be a big help.