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Don't let chronic back pain jeopardize your earning ability

Dealing with back pain is a part of the daily lives of many people in Minnesota, and the jobs they do are often the reason for this chronic pain. Your back injury can cause gradual discomfort that could develop into a debilitating condition that could jeopardize your earning potential. Conversely, if you fall from a ladder, scaffold or other elevated space, slip and fall in an office, or lift an object that is too heavy, your back injury could occur in an instant.

Regardless of the cause of your back pain, you need not suffer in silence. Many employees fear losing their jobs if they report back pain, but leaving it untreated has the potential of resulting in life-long disability. Many employers may realize that timely medical treatment of back problems can benefit productivity.

Typical back pain causes

Workplace safety advocates say circumstances that cause back pain typically fit one of the following situations:

  • Haste -- When your employer sets unreasonable deadlines, the need to rush may lead to frustration and agitation -- leaving little time to consider your posture and potential back injuries.
  • Complacency -- The opposite applies when your job requires you to perform repetitive tasks day after day. When you twist and bend your spine repeatedly during every shift you work, you may become complacent and push body posture and positioning to the back of your mind -- unaware of the potential long-term damage.

Contributing factors

Back injuries typically cause extended periods of absence due to the need for intense therapy and rehabilitation. Keeping in mind the following common factors that contribute to occupational back problems might save you from suffering debilitating pain and discomfort:

  • Inactivity -- If you work in an office or spend many hours driving, the static sitting position may weaken the muscles in your lower back. Prolonged sitting in a seat or chair that provides inadequate back support may allow you to slouch and stoop, causing an unnatural curve in the spine with resulting back pain.
  • Force -- The natural s-curve of the back is a delicate structure that requires protection from excessive force. When you lift, carry, shift, pull or move heavy objects without using techniques that will limit the force, you can wrench your spine out of position.
  • Repetition -- Although your spine can cope with a wide variety of movements, repetitive motions can cause damage. Continuous maneuvers -- particularly those requiring rotation of the spine -- cause excessive wear and tear on the tendons and tissues surrounding the spine. Leaving such damage untreated could lead to chronic back pain.

Workers' compensation

Although your medical expenses and lost wages may be recoverable through the Minnesota workers' compensation insurance system, proving your back pain to be work related might be challenging. Fortunately, the services of experienced legal counsel are available to support and guide you throughout the process to claim benefits.

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