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Low Back Pain Archives

Workers Comp Low Back Pain - Causes

There are many causes of low back pain. Workers compensation cases come in two types: immediate traumatic injury or wear and tear over time. At McCormick Law Office we handle both types of causation every day. The wear and tear type is called degeneration. Over time, the normal process of aging can result in degenerative changes in all parts of the spine. Injuries to the spine, such as a fracture or injury to the disc, can make the changes happen even faster. The intervertebral disc, the jelly doughnut shock absorber, changes over time. At first, the disc is spongy and firm. The nucleus in the center of the disc contains a great deal of water. This gives the disc its ability to absorb shock and protect the spine from heavy and repeated forces.

Workers Comp Low Back Pain - Spinal Segment

Low back pain can often be explained by changes in a spinal segment. A spinal segment includes two vertebrae separated by an intervertebral disc, the nerves that leave the spinal cord at that level, and the small facet joints that link each level of the spinal column.
The intervertebral disc normally works like a shock absorber. It protects the spine against the daily pull of gravity. It also protects the spine during heavy activities that put strong force on the spine, such as jumping, running, and lifting.
An intervertebral disc is made up of two parts and can be visualized as a jelly doughnut. The center, called the nucleus, is spongy. It provides most of the disc's ability to absorb shock. The nucleus is held in place by the annulus, a series of strong ligament rings surrounding it. Ligaments are strong connective tissues that attach bones to other bones.
Between the vertebrae of each spinal segment are two facet joints. The facet joints are located on the back of the spinal column. There are two facet joints between each pair of vertebrae, one on each side of the spine. A facet joint is made of small, bony knobs that line up along the back of the spine. Where these knobs meet, they form a joint that connects the two vertebrae. The alignment of the facet joints of the lumbar spine allows freedom of movement as you bend forward and back.
The surfaces of the facet joints are covered by articular cartilage. Articular cartilage is a smooth, rubbery material that covers the ends of most joints. It allows the bone ends to move against each other smoothly, without pain.
Two spinal nerves exit the sides of each spinal segment, one on the left and one on the right. As the nerves leave the spinal cord, they pass through a small bony tunnel on each side of the vertebra, called a neural foramen.
The lumbar spine is supported by ligaments and muscles. The ligaments are arranged in various layers and run in multiple directions. Thick ligaments connect the bones of the lumbar spine to the sacrum and pelvis. The muscles of the low back are also arranged in layers. The muscles connect the low back, pelvis, and sacrum and help hold the spine steady during activity.
The attorneys at McCormick Law Office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin get the best results in workers compensation low back pain claims when the spinal segment MRI results show work-related damage. We still need a doctor's opinion providing causation, but a herniated disc or even degenerative disc disease will go a long way in proving a case for disability benefits or loss of earning capacity benefits.

Workers Comp Low Back Pain - Anatomy

To understand low back pain from in the workers compensation setting, it is important for the workers comp attorney to have a working knowledge of lumbar spine anatomy. The human spine is made up of 24 bones, called vertebrae, which are stacked on top of one another to create the spinal column. The spinal column gives the body its upright form and provides our primary support for standing erect.

Workers Compensation Low Back Pain

Low back pain is one of the primary causes of Wisconsin workers compensation claims. Serious lumbar injuries can prevent a return to a physical job for many workers. If a doctor assigns permanent, work related restrictions there can be a claim for workers compensation benefits for loss of earning capacity, vocational retraining and/or permanent disability.

Workers Comp Low Back Pain Options

Low back pain is a constant companion for many workers compensation injured workers with a serious low back or lumbar injury. Neurogenic or mechanical lumbar, or cervical, pain too often become a problem for injured workers. In general, pain is the primary reason 75 percent of patients seek emergency treatment in hospitals and urgent care centers.

Are Low Back Pain Symptoms Work-Related?

Are low back pain symptoms work-related in Wisconsin workers compensation cases First, what are some of the symptoms of low back problems? Symptoms from low back problems vary. They depend on a person's condition and which structures are affected. Some of the more common symptoms of low back problems are:

Low Back Pain is Work Related

Low back pain is work related legally in three different ways.  But first, medically, there are many causes of low back pain. Doctors are not always able to pinpoint the source of a patient's pain. But your doctor will make every effort to arrive at an appropriate differential diagnosis.  The vast majority of back problems are a result of wear and tear on the parts of the spine over many years. This process is called degeneration. Over time, the normal process of aging can result in degenerative changes in all parts of the spine.  However, physical, strenuous activity such as job duties over time can accelerate the degenerative process.  Apart from degeneration, an acute injury to the spine, such as a fracture or injury to the disc, can make a discrete injury or degeneration happen even faster.  Also, environmental factors such as diet and smoking can damage the spine and there is a genetic role in spinal health as well.  But even with lifestyle choices and family history, if a work injury or job duties accelerate a spinal condition, it is work-related.  The next blog will discuss the medicine of degeneration and spinal pain, now let's understand legally what low back pain is work related.

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