Each job carries its own innate dangers. For example, someone who works with chemicals is at a high risk of lung damage, and people who use keyboards can develop carpal tunnel syndrome. Some occupations, then, pose a greater risk of back injury than others. In this article, we will discuss back injuries and occupations that cause them; look at the commonalities between these jobs; and explain what to do if you’ve suffered a back injury at work.
Back injuries are among the worst maladies a person can suffer. The consequences of such an injury are profound. The back is one of the most important parts of the body, structurally. It supports all major extremities. When it is harmed, the whole body can be affected.
Even minor injuries can cause chronic back pain, which is miserable to the sufferer. Chronic back pain and mobility go together. Sometimes a person is mechanically capable of movement, but they avoid moving to escape pain.
Severe injuries to the spine are debilitating. The major nerves that control movement are located in the spine. The spine is made up of separate sections separated by discs. If a disc becomes dislodged, or “herniated,” it can stab the nerve cluster, causing severe pain. Extremely herniated discs can damage the nerves, affecting mobility or even causing paralysis. If a spine is broken, nerves will most likely snap, leaving someone paralyzed in some way.
As we will see, occupational injuries are often the result of repetitive movement. Often, jobs require us to perform the same physical actions time and time again. This can wear down the musculoskeletal system, creating a repetitive movement injury. Other times, a job is a high-risk occupation, and direct injuries can damage someone’s back.
Jobs That Can Injure Your Back
Most of us are aware that construction is a high-risk job. There are dangerous tools and machines all over a job site, and any mistake could result in an injury. Back injuries can come from anywhere. An errant tool could hit a worker. Mismanaged job sites could cause injury by a construction vehicle. A worker can fall from a high place or be hit by falling debris.
Even when workers avoid such accidents, the job itself can take a toll on the back. Constantly moving heavy materials can cause injury. The repetitive movements of using tools can wear down the body. Just regularly climbing and descending ladders can eventually lead to problems.
Nurses are in a high-risk environment. Spills are a common occurrence in hospitals, and one slip can injure the back. Nurses are often asked to carefully move heavy patients. Repeated lifting can leave its mark on the back. Nurses are often on their feet, sometimes throughout a shift. This can wear down backs and legs as well.
Here, we see another example of workers who are often on their feet, moving and lifting heavy objects. Warehouse work has the added danger of heavy objects stacked upon one another. Stacked incorrectly, these towers can become unstable, falling on workers, harming their backs.
Surgeons or Dentists
Some may be surprised to see these occupations on this list. Surgery and dentistry often require someone to be in a stable, steady position. The biggest risks often come from the tools themselves; contracting an illness from a patient; or a patient’s violent behavior. However, when you consider the posture of these workers, it is easy to see how they can suffer damage to the back.
Surgeons are often upright, leaning over a patient. Dentists may opt for a stool, but they are still in a leaning position, hovering over the patient’s mouth. This bent posture can, over time, wear down a medical professional’s back. Their spines can sometimes settle into these positions, creating posture problems, leading to more pain.
Gardeners or Landscapers
Like many of the occupations already mentioned, gardening and landscaping requires a repetitive set of movements. Landscapers are hoeing, digging, and planting for much of their day. Gardeners may be required to stay low and bent over as they tend to the plants.
Unlike many workers on this list, truck drivers are at risk for their lack of movement. Staying in a stationary, seated position for hours, making long trips, can cause back injuries. Posture problems can occur, and back muscles can become locked or atrophied. Spinal damage can also occur.
This is another group of laborers who find themselves constantly on their feet. Even stationary checkout clerks may find themselves with back and joint pain at the end of a long day. Other workers must move about, bustling across large areas. Spills and obstacles can lead to falls, injuring the back.
Commonalities Among These Jobs
You’ve probably already noticed a big trend among these occupations: The workers are on their feet for long periods of time. The above jobs do not, by any means, cover all occupations that require standing. Teachers, food service workers, police, and more are constantly on their feet, and their backs may suffer as a result.
Another common trait is stationary positions affecting your posture. We see this in the truck drivers and surgeons discussed above. Of course, there are many other jobs that put workers in such positions. For example, office workers who sit in chair all day can suffer much like a truck driver.
What to Do if You Injured Your Back at Work
If you’ve suffered any injury at work, including back problems, you should apply for workers’ compensation. This is an insurance benefit your employer pays to cover your injuries.
You should include a lawyer whenever you apply for workers’ comp. Many initial claims are denied. The insurance companies can use any excuse. They may point out simple errors on the forms, and they can claim that your injuries do not warrant benefits. A lawyer can look over your application beforehand, making sure it is filled out correctly. They can also help you write your request, ensuring that its language is convincing and appropriate. If you are denied workers’ comp, you will need an attorney to help you appeal that decision.
If your work has led to back issues, contact us today. We may be able to help you receive your workers’ comp benefits. Our number is (714) 500-8661, and you can contact us online.