If you work in a factory or warehouse, you are probably no stranger to back pain. After all, the lifting, twisting and reaching you do every day may put a strain on the muscles in your upper and lower back. Acute back pain, however, may be a symptom of something more serious.
Between each vertebra in your spine, you have cartilage disks. These disks not only cushion bones, but they also help to facilitate movement. A herniated disk occurs when a disk ruptures, swells or moves out of place.
Herniated disks often affect the lower back, although the injury is possible anywhere in the spine. If you have a herniated disk, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Arm or leg pain
- Muscular weakness
- Numbness, tingling or loss of sensation
Your doctor is likely to use both physical tests and imaging technology to diagnose your herniated disk. Still, it is important to inform your physician of your symptoms and work impairments.
In minor cases, individuals recover from herniated disks without invasive medical procedures. If your condition is not serious, your doctor may recommend bed rest and restrict your job activities. For a major injury, though, you may need to undergo both surgery and extensive rehabilitation.
Recovering from a herniated disk may take months or longer. Fortunately, if your injury occurs at work, you are likely eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits may help you support yourself and your family until you can resume your job duties.
Because herniated disks can worsen over time, you do not want to ignore back or neck pain. Ultimately, seeking the right diagnosis and treatment may boost your chances of returning to your pre-injury condition.