Although a spine injury can commonly result from a fall, collision or another acute incident, repetitive stress can also cause this type of damage. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons reports that as many as 450,000 Americans live with a spinal cord injury, causing an estimated $9.7 billion in systemic costs each year.
If you perform physical labor at your job, these symptoms could signify disabling spinal cord damage. Keep in mind that because this type of injury is not immediately evident, you should seek medical help right away even if you feel fine right after an injury.
Loss of function
When you experience pain while moving or walking or an inability to walk, a spinal cord injury could be to blame. Some people struggle to control their bowels or bladder after this type of injury. Even if you can walk, you may demonstrate a limited range of motion. Sometimes, back pain manifests with a fever, which can indicate infection or inflammation.
Pain and discomfort
You may also notice pain, pressure or stiffness in the affected area as well as numbness or tingling in the hands and feet. You may experience back pain as a shooting, stabbing pain or a dull ache. It may radiate down your leg and improve when you lie down. For example, sciatica typically causes burning or tingling pain that affects the rear end, hips and lower extremities. Often, the pain gets worse when you bend over, walk, stand or lift objects. You may also notice increased discomfort at night. Pain that increases when you cough often signifies a herniated spinal disc.
Taking steps to protect your spine at work can help you avoid this type of acute or chronic injury. If you do experience back pain after a workplace injury, see a doctor right away. You may be eligible for workers’ compensation to cover the cost of medical bills and lost wages.