Connective Tissue Injuries in the Back: Workers’ Comp Guide

Back Injuries on the Job 101: Connective Tissue

When picturing back injuries, people typically imagine fractures or other acute issues. In reality, some of the most common—and debilitating—conditions involve chronic connective tissue damage. Keep reading for a brief overview of need-to-know terms and other valuable information about connective tissue related back pain.

Tendons and Ligaments

Tendons and ligaments are fibrous bands of connective tissue that link two or more structures (typically bones or cartilage) together. These tissue bands are often to blame for work-related back pain; employees may twist or pull tendons or ligaments while completing everyday work functions. The result: strains and sprains, which involve muscle cramping and significantly decreased range of motion.

Fascia

Often compared to sweaters due to their densely woven structure, fascia cover bones, muscles, nerves and internal organs. They also protect the spinal cord.

An oft-forgotten element of spinal injuries, fascia remain poorly understood. Fascia injuries typically follow repeated strain, such as heavy lifting or frequent bending. Patients may experience either a dull pain or more intense sensations that worsen while completing essential workday tasks. Over time, fascia injuries may lead to trigger points (and further pain), or reduced strength and range of motion.

Synovial Membrane

A protective layer of connective tissue responsible for protecting tendons and joints, the synovial membrane (also known as the synovium) can become inflamed or damaged by traumatic joint injuries. This may lead to pain or swelling. Synovial cysts often result from spinal degeneration. Although uncommon, this condition can cause back pain, leg pain (known as sciatica) and sometimes, muscle weakness or cramping in the legs.

Whether you’ve suffered a workplace injury to your fascia, tendon or ligament, seek experienced counsel. Reach out to Smith, Wallis & Scott, LLP at (770) 214-2500 to learn about the next strategic steps in your workers’ compensation case.

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