What Happens if I Injure My Back at Work?

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Spine injuries are not to be taken lightly; if you have been injured at work, you may need to seek workers' compensation for your back injury. Back injuries involving severe trauma frequently lead to spinal cord damage. Ensuing problems could be life-changing, with victims suffering partial or complete paralysis. Immediate treatment is imperative, so it's essential to understand the condition and recognize symptoms.

What Is the Spinal Cord?

The spinal cord comprises a bundle of nerve fibers enclosed within the spine. This critical group of threads connects most body parts to the brain. Together, the brain and spinal cord form the central nervous system.

Spinal Nerves

Dozens of spinal nerves emerge from the spinal cord, appearing in short branches known as roots. Sensory roots carry information from all over the body to the brain. Motor roots deliver commands from the brain to various body parts, including skeletal muscles.

Common Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries are among the most permanently debilitating of all back problems. These injuries are defined based on where they occur and the severity of the damage. These factors also determine how much patients can control their limbs following injury. A complete injury occurs when the patient loses nearly all feeling and motor function below the site of damage. Those with incomplete injuries retain some motor or sensory function.

If the injury impacts the arms, legs, trunk, and internal organs, it may be referred to as quadriplegia. Paraplegia occurs when the legs, trunk, and internal organs are affected, but not the arms and hands.

Symptoms of Spinal Cord Injuries

Top spinal cord injury symptoms include loss of motor function and feeling in the affected areas. Additionally, spinal cord damage could lead to loss of bladder control, difficulty breathing, exaggerated spasms, lack of coordination, or an intense stinging sensation.

In the aftermath of a spinal cord injury, getting in touch with a trusted workers' compensation attorney is essential. Contact Smith, Wallis & Scott, LLP at your earliest convenience at (770) 214-2500.

Getting Workers' Compensation For Back Injuries

The back is a surprisingly complicated structure, making it difficult to ascertain the specific cause and solution to chronic pain. However, as a back pain sufferer, it behooves you to gain a thorough understanding of the damage you may have endured. Read on to learn about the vertebrae, which play a critical role in numerous injuries:

What Are Vertebrae?

Vertebrae consist of a series of nearly three dozen interlocking bones. Together, these make up the spinal column. Each vertebra features a load-bearing body, an arch that protects the spinal cord, and attachment points that ensure flexible movement.

Classifying Vertebrae

Experts classify vertebrae based on their position. For example, the spinal column's upper portion features cervical vertebrae, while thoracic vertebrae offer attachment points for the ribs. In addition, the sacral and caudal vertebrae are fused into the sacrum and tailbone.

Common Vertebral Injuries

Various injuries strike the vertebrae; most are serious enough to cause severe pain. Vertebral compression fractures may occur in response to osteoporosis but can also result from excessive pressure or a hard fall. Severe compression fractures are known as burst fractures; these occur when the bone shatters, with bone fragments possibly piercing the spinal cord.

Although less severe than burst fractures, vertebral dislocation can prove quite painful. A dislocation occurs when one or more vertebrae are displaced, typically in response to a traumatic neck injury. Occasionally, dislocation and fractures occur at the same time, damaging both soft tissue and the spinal cord.

Symptoms of vertebral injuries vary somewhat based on the severity and whether a burst occurs, but sufferers can expect to experience intense pain, which worsens while standing or walking. Many also suffer a reduced range of motion.

If you suspect you've suffered a vertebral injury on the job, contact Smith, Wallis & Scott, LLP at (770) 214-2500 to learn more about your options.

Connective Tissue Injuries and Workers Compensation

When picturing back injuries, people typically imagine fractures or other acute issues. But, 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 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.


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 remains poorly understood. Fascia injuries typically follow repeated strain, such as heavy lifting or frequent bending. As a result, patients may experience 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. In addition, 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 for your back injury.

Taking Care of Your Back After a Workplace Accident

A shocking 80 percent of Americans experiences back pain at some point. While many witnesses gradual onset with age, others suffer acute pain due to workplace accidents. Quick recovery hinges on prompt medical attention and proper care at home.

Eager to eradicate back pain? This is not a medical blog. And you should never change your exercise or dietary regimen before speaking with your doctor—but you might find these insights valuable.

Rethinking Bed Rest?

Medical experts once prescribed rest as a cure-all for back problems, but recent research suggests prolonged rest could hurt more than it helps. So today, authorities recommend gently resuming physical activity soon after an accident. A daily stroll can make a difference, as can recovery-oriented yoga classes.

Take Regular Breaks

Instead of committing to long, uninterrupted periods of bed rest, talk to your doctor/therapist about taking regular breaks to avoid overloading your back. Breaks may prove necessary for both physical and sedentary activities. For example, instead of sitting at your desk all afternoon, stand up and move around at least once every half hour.

Be Diligent About Physical Therapy

Occasionally visiting your physical therapist is not good enough; honor all appointments and complete any recommended exercises. Be honest with your physical therapist about your routine and current pain. Avoid underplaying or exaggerating what's happening to you.

Don't Expect an Immediate Recovery

Moderate your expectations. Anticipate weeks, possibly even months, of difficulty following your back injury. Stay calm if your back heals more slowly than you initially hoped. You could suffer even worse injuries if you push recovery and try to return to your routine before you're ready.

Let Smith, Wallis, and Scott handle the legal aspects of your workers' compensation for your back injury. Then, call us at (770) 214-2500 to schedule a free, confidential case evaluation.

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