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Herniated discs: A small injury that can have major consequences

Imagine you are at work on a construction site. You lean over to pick up something, which you do countless times a day, but this time something goes wrong, and suddenly you feel a sharp, incredibly painful spark in your back. There may be burning, tingling or numbness that follows. The doctor determines that it is a herniated disc.

Yes, this can be a common injury. Yes, it may get better with some rest. However, there is no guarantee that this will be the outcome. For some people, a herniated disc takes a drastic toll on their life.

What is a herniated disc?

Herniated discs occur when the soft center of discs between our vertebrae, which act as cushions, gets pushed out of its outer layer through a tear or rupture. The disc can then press on spinal nerves, creating intense pain.

Certain factors increase a person’s risk of experiencing a herniated disc. According to the Mayo Clinic, people can be more susceptible to these injuries if they are:

  • Overweight
  • Genetically predisposed to this injury
  • Smokers
  • In physically demanding jobs, including construction

How this injury can affect a person’s life

If you suffer from a herniated disc, it could affect your life in myriad ways. You may be:

  • Unable to work
  • Limited in your mobility
  • Incontinent
  • Struggling with immense pain
  • Taking powerful medication that prevents you from operating heavy machinery

While a herniated disc could improve over time, some people require rehabilitation, lifestyle changes or surgery.

Most adults will experience back pain. It could be acute pain brought on by a single event, or it could be a chronic condition that requires ongoing care and treatment. It can be impossible to know which type of injury you have without immediate medical care, tests and imaging.

To ensure you get proper treatment, see a doctor if you develop back pain on the job. And before you dismiss your pain as just a part of getting older or working in physical labor, keep in mind the toll it can take on your life. Then, you can contact an attorney to assess the legal remedies that may be available.

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