Is My Workplace Injury a Herniated Disc?

A herniated disc is often associated with shooting pain that travels down one of the legs. However, the symptoms can be vastly different depending on which area of your spine has been injured. If you suffered a workplace injury and suspect you may have a herniated disc, you might be eligible to file for workers’ compensation to cover your medical bills and missed wages while you’re off your feet. Here is what you need to know before you file a claim.

What is a herniated disc?

A disc is a rubbery cushion that provides a barrier between two individual vertebrae in the spine. Sometimes called a ruptured disc or slipped disc, a herniated disc occurs when some of this soft material pushes out from its position. This can irritate nearby nerves and cause pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness in the back and pain that shoots down the legs. Most herniated discs happen in the lower back and neck, although they can happen in the upper back, too.

What types of workplace accidents can cause a herniated disc?

Lifting a very large, heavy object using your back muscles instead of your leg muscles can put a lot of strain on the lower back and cause a disc to bulge. A disc can also slip out of place if you twist or turn while lifting something, as can repetitive pulling, pushing, and bending sideways. Therefore, employees who work in manufacturing and construction are at the highest risk. It’s rare that a slip and fall or blow to the back will cause a herniated disc.

What does a herniated disc feel like?

While some people with a herniated disc don’t have any symptoms, others experience debilitating pain and limitations that impact their daily lives. A herniated disc feels different in the lower back than it does in the neck. Here are the common symptoms of each type of injury:

Herniated disc in the lumbar spine (lower back)

The most common symptom of a herniated disc in the lower back is pain that shoots down the legs. This is also referred to as sciatica. In addition to sciatica pain, a herniated disc in the lower back can cause weakness when raising the big toe and ankle, as well as numbness and pain on top of the foot. Additional symptoms include weakness when standing on the toes, and numbness and pain in the sole and on the outside of the foot.

Herniated disc in the cervical spine (neck)

It’s not as common to have a herniated disc in the neck because there is less disc material separating the vertebrae and less pressure on the spine. Common symptoms of a herniated disc in the neck include weakness in the upper arms and wrists, pain, numbness and tingling radiating to the thumb side of the hand or middle or little finger, and weakness when gripping.

Can I file a workers’ compensation claim for my herniated disc?

A herniated disc can cause such severe pain that it has an impact on your ability to perform your normal job function. This is especially true if you work in manufacturing or construction and your duties include lifting and carrying heavy objects. If your herniated disc is a result of an accident that happened at work, you’re likely eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim to collect benefits to cover lost wages and medical treatment, as well as compensation for any permanent disability.

You don’t have to go through this alone

Living with the pain of a herniated disc can take a toll, both physically and emotionally. If you’re planning to file a workers’ compensation claim, the last thing you need is the added stress of navigating the legal system alone. That’s where we come in.

At the Law Offices of Gerald D. Brody & Associates, we’ve helped countless injured workers prepare their workers’ compensation cases and can advise you on the best course of action for a successful outcome. Our services are completely free until you win, and even then there are no out-of-pocket fees. Give us a call today to schedule your initial consultation. We look forward to helping you on your road to recovery.