Back pain is one of the most common workplace injuries in Connecticut. An understanding of basic types of back injuries and their symptoms can help workers avoid injury to their backs and understand when to visit the doctor. Many people experience back pain without receiving a definitive diagnosis of the cause.

This post is directed toward back pain that is work-related. Work-related back injuries are usually caused by a repetitive motion, heavy lifting or a fall. Sometimes, a single injury can cause more than one type of pain.

Five types of back pain are most common: muscle or ligament strain, bulging or ruptured disks, arthritis, skeletal irregularities and osteoporosis. Muscle or ligament strain usually results from either heavy lifting or lifting using the arms and shoulders rather than the legs. A sudden awkward movement may also injure the back’s ligaments and muscles. Disks are cushions between the vertebrae. If a disk is injured, the cushioning material can spread and impinge on one or more nerves in the spinal column. A disk injury can cause numbness in the legs; with some types of disk injuries, the pain can radiate into the legs. Arthritis, skeletal irregularities and osteoporosis are frequent causes of back pain, but they are not ordinarily work-related.

Back pain that immediately follows a mishap at work can be reliably categorized as work-related. Back pain that worsens over time may or may not be work-related. Anyone who suffers from back pain that may be related to a condition of the work environment or the occurrence of an accident at work may wish to consult a workers’ compensation attorney for advice on whether a claim for workers’ compensation benefits should be filed, assistance in preparing and filing the claim and handling any hearing or appeal that may be required to obtain benefits.

Source: Mayo Clinic, “Back Pain,” accessed on Dec. 21, 2017