Back injuries are some of the most common workplace injuries: They account for nearly one-third of all workplace injuries in Illinois. Here are the common causes and what you can do if you get injured.
Common causes of workplace back injuries
- Overextension: This occurs when you extend your back too far, often as a result of lifting something heavy. Overextension can cause damage to the muscles, ligaments and discs in your back.
- Lifting: When you lift something incorrectly or without proper safety precautions, you are at risk of injuring your back. Heavy lifting can also lead to overextension.
- Poor posture: Slouching or hunching over places unnecessary stress on your spine. This can lead to pain and inflammation in your back muscles and joints.
- Stress: When you are under a lot of stress, your muscles tense up. This can lead to pain and inflammation in your back.
- Inactivity: People who work in an office where they sit all day are also prone to back injuries. The back becomes weak, stiff and deconditioned, causing pain recurrence.
How to prevent back injuries at work
- Use proper lifting techniques when lifting heavy objects.
- Take breaks often to stretch and move around.
- Wear comfortable, supportive shoes.
- Sit up straight and use good posture.
- Avoid stressful situations when possible.
What to do when you get injured at work
If you suffer a back injury at work, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation, a type of insurance that provides benefits to employees who are injured on the job. These benefits can include medical expenses, lost wages and disability payments. If you are injured at work, you should report your injury to your employer as soon as possible. You should also see a doctor for an evaluation and diagnosis. Once you have been diagnosed with a back injury, you can file a workers’ compensation claim.
If you suffer a back injury, it is important to seek medical help right away. With proper treatment, most people can make a full recovery. However, some people may experience chronic pain or disability due to their injuries. If this is the case, additional treatment or benefits may be necessary. Ensure that when filing for workers’ compensation, you get what you need depending on the extent of your injury and how it has negatively impacted your life.