We’ve all been there before; working at a cubicle, staring at the computer screen and trying to complete your work tasks in an effective and efficient matter to have a productive day, feeling tired from the bright screen in front of you or having back and neck stress from sitting all day. Or maybe if your job requires heavy lifting, your lower back aches from the strained muscles overused for the purpose of getting things done, the shoulders are irritated from putting heftier objects over your head or your back is all knotted from twist and turning to be able to lift the heaviest of objects. All of these symptoms related to work injuries are commonplace stresses that your body goes through during a long work week. These symptoms may also lead to long-lasting conditions or reactivate old injuries that can cause pain and suffering.
Neck and Back Injuries
Neck pain can be caused by any activity that strains the neck. There may be pain at the base of the skull and down into the shoulders; or there may be a feeling of tightness in the neck; or even a simple stiff but agonizing neck. This can develop into a headache or other body pressures that create a terrible work day. Severe neck pain can limit your ability to move your head and become straining enough to limit your ability to do your job. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OHSA), back and neck injuries at work are second only to hand injuries as the most prevalent workplace injury. Common workplace injuries include: lower back strain, bulging/herniated and slipped discs, fractured vertebrae, pinched nerves and spinal cord damage. All of this is a result from overextension or twisting of the spine from heavy lifting, pulling, pushing or poor posture while sitting for a prolonged period of time. Specifically, back pain can be either acute or chronic. Acute back pain comes on quickly but goes away within three to six weeks. Although it is temporary, it can be very excruciating. Chronic back pain continues for more than six weeks and can be present for years or even a lifetime. Conditions such as arthritis and degenerative disc disease that have existed prior and is aggravated, reactivated or accelerated due to work conditions are also considered to be in the right of an employee to obtain workers compensation benefits for a preexisting injury.
To balance out work with body stresses, work ergonomics can help prevent or protect neck and back strains. Ergonomics is the science of fitting your work environment to your job in a way that is best for your well-being. When working at a computer station, work ergonomics takes into consideration how the desk, chair and computer monitor can be placed to lessen the stress on the neck and back. In an industrial setting, work ergonomics may involve training for proper techniques in lifting and using heavy equipment. The key is to keep head and neck in a neutral position that maintains the natural curve of you cervical spine. The cervical spine is the part of your spine that supports your head. This area, once over-taxed, can be extremely hard to manage without proper treatment .
To improve your workstation:
- Arrange your work so that you can sit or stand comfortably in a position that does not put stress on any specific area of your body. You should be able to keep your neck in a neutral position and minimize the need to look up or to the sides continuously while you are working.
- Eliminate most movement from your waist. Keep the workstation and workstation tools within reach without having to lean, bend, or twist at the waist frequently.
- Vary postures if possible.
- Take 10 to 15 second breaks frequently throughout your task. For example, look away from your computer, stand up, or stretch your arms. Short breaks reduce eyestrain and buildup of muscle tension.
- Stretch your body by getting up out of your chair and stretching your arms, shoulders, back, and legs. When you are sitting, shrug and relax your shoulders.
Dolman Law Group
Workers’ compensation laws necessitate companies to carry insurance plans that cover employees’ work-related injuries. Workers’ compensation coverage is typically available regardless of employer liability or the employee’s prior physical condition. Injuries aggravated, accelerated or reactivated by the work injury are compensable under workers compensation. The basic legal eligibility requirements for any workers’ compensation claim are: that an employee suffers a work-related physical or mental injury, that the resulting disability prevents the employee from working and that the employee provide notice to an employer within the statutorily required period.
Employees who have the issues associated with back and neck pain as described previously are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits pay for you medical and therapy bills, out of pocket expenses, costs of transportation to and from treatment, and approximately two-thirds of your lost wages. If you or anyone you know has chronic or acute back and neck pain from work related activities, please call the workers’ compensation attorneys at Dolman Law today. Dolman Law Group is the team that has the experience and skills to help you claim your monetary funds for relief. Call (727) 853-6275 for a free consultation and evaluation.
Dolman Law Group
5435 Main Street
New Port Richey, FL 34652