Regardless of the type of job you have—whether heavy construction, manufacturing, retail, or office—the most common workplace maladies are those that affect your back. It’s estimated that every year over a million workers suffer a back injury on the job, making it the primary cause of work-related disability in the United States. Studies show that back injuries account for one in every five work injuries, leading to more than 250 million lost work days annually.
The Most Common Types of Job-Related Back Injuries
Work-related back injuries include a broad range of events:
- Strains, sprains, and pulled or torn connective tissue—These types of injuries are frequently found in occupations that involve lifting, bending, pushing, or pulling, including warehouse work, manufacturing, and construction. These injuries can affect muscles, tendons, and ligaments, leading to significant pain and loss of mobility.
- Repetitive strain, stress, or motion—These injuries can occur in almost any occupation and can involve repeated use of hands, shoulders, hips, knees, or other joints, causing inflammation, swelling, or aggravation of nerves.
- Bulging, herniated, or slipped discs—The vertebrae in your spinal cord are protected and cushioned by soft discs that act like a shock absorber, minimizing rubbing and friction. Repetitive stress or motion, as well as traumatic accidents, can cause the disc to rupture or move out of place, impinging on nerves. When that happens, you can experience substantial pain and a compromised range of motion.
- Pinched nerves—Your spinal cord is the nerve center of your body. When one of the discs in your back slips out of place and puts pressure on a nerve, it can radiate out to your neck, arms, and legs, causing pain and loss of sensation.
- Broken back—Fractured vertebrae in your back typically result from a serious accident, such as a fall or a motor vehicle crash.