St. Louis Back Injury Lawyers
Did You Suffer an On-the-Job Back Injury or Work-Related Back Pain?
From car crashes to work-related accidents, back injuries are extremely common. Most back injuries occur when the muscles and ligaments are stretched beyond their capacity. This strain causes pain and inflammation that can be debilitating. Back pain is difficult to live with because victims often can’t find comfort while sitting, standing, or lying down, which means they are virtually always in pain.
Back injuries are no laughing matter when your health, well-being, and employment are on the line. The St. Louis back injury lawyers at The Dixon Injury Firm have managed countless work-related back injury cases and helped numerous clients recover their rightful workers’ compensation benefits.
Employees in Missouri are entitled to workers’ compensation for work-related back injuries. If you need help filing your initial claim or appealing a denied workers’ compensation claim, our team is ready to help. Get in touch with us today to learn more during a free, confidential consultation.
Back Injury Basics
The spine comprises a long column of 33 bones with various ligaments and soft tissues that hold them together and allow a range of motion. Several muscles extend in various directions from our spine, and any of these 33 vertebrae, ligaments, tissue, or muscles can sustain an injury following a traumatic event.
Back injuries are usually classified by the area of the back that is affected:
- Upper Back Pain: The upper back includes the cervical vertebrae and the supporting muscles and ligaments. Upper back injuries are often referred to as neck injuries.
- Middle Back Pain: The middle back includes the thoracic vertebrae and the supporting muscles and ligaments.
- Lower Back Pain: The lower back includes the lumbar vertebrae and the supporting muscles and ligaments.
Common Causes of Back Injuries
Back injuries may be caused by a variety of events, including automobile accidents, work accidents, falls, sports injuries, and other physical activities. Automobile accidents that involved sudden impacts are an extremely common cause of back injuries. The impact of the accident causes the body to be violently thrown in various directions, forcing vertebrae, muscles, and ligaments out of their natural position. Workers who are required to operate vehicles in the course of their employment are at risk of sustaining crash-related back injuries, as well as back injuries incurred from prolonged periods sitting.
In addition to auto accidents, activities that put too much strain on your back muscles, vertebrae, or ligaments have the potential to cause back injuries. The severity of an injury depends on several factors, some of which include the forces involved, weight involved, the position of the body at the time of injury, and the victim’s age, among others.
How Are Back Injuries Diagnosed?
Proper back injury diagnosis is required to find treatment and allow victims to seek compensation. All too often after an accident, the emergency room will only take a few x-rays to ensure there are no broken bones. The victim is then released and told to follow up with a specialist if the pain continues.
In addition, back pain is often not present immediately after an accident but instead takes a few days to a few weeks to appear. Regardless of your situation, ongoing back pain needs to be examined by a medical professional.
Generally, a primary care doctor, orthopedic surgeon, or another back injury specialist will perform a full physical exam to understand the nature, location, and extent of your back injury.
They may also order a variety of tests, including:
- X-Rays: An x-ray shows a high level of detail of the bone structure in the spine. This allows doctors to see if there are any fractures, tumors, or other causes of instability or back pain. X-rays do not do a good job of showing soft tissue injuries or herniated discs, bulging discs, and other more serious back injuries.
- CT Scans: A CT scan can help identify muscle injuries and soft tissue damage, such as herniated discs or spinal stenosis.
- MRIs: An MRI can help identify injuries that involve vertebral discs and the nerve roots in the back and spine. An MRI is typically used for proper diagnosis and surgical planning.
- Myelograms: A myelogram is an imaging tool that uses contrast dye and computed tomography (CT) technology to examine the spine and provide extremely reliable photos of the damage.
Doctors may order any number of tests to properly diagnose serious back injuries. It is only after careful testing and diagnosis that a doctor can recommend the proper treatment plan.
Classifying Back Injuries
The term “back injury” is a general term that includes all injuries that affect each part of the back. Your specific injury is unique to your situation.
Here are several types of back injuries a person may experience:
- Work-Related Lower Back Injury: Lower back injuries are often the result of picking up something heavy or pulling, bending, or twisting in a direction that causes strain or sprain. If this occurs while on the job, a worker is entitled to bring a workers’ compensation claim for the injury and seek benefits.
- Work-Related Upper Back Injury: Upper back injuries may result from picking up something heavy, twisting your body in a direction that causes strain or sprain, extreme stress, or repetitive motions. Some of the more common upper back injuries are tension-neck syndrome, shoulder impingement syndrome, thoracic outlet syndrome, and rotator cuff tendinitis.
- Inflammation: Back injuries often cause inflammation that creates very tender or sore spots along the spine where muscles meet ligaments. Stretched ligaments cause serious pain that may require several months to fully heal.
- Whiplash: Whiplash is a condition in which the vertebrae in the upper neck have been forcefully pushed and pulled into unnatural positions. The whip-like motion is where the condition gets its name.
- Herniated Discs: A herniated disc—also referred to as a slipped disc, bulging disc, or ruptured disc—is a very painful condition in which the jelly-like substance from inside one of the fibrous discs that cushion the bones of the vertebrae is forced out of its natural position or ruptures. When the vertebrae are forced from their place, they often intrude into the spinal nerves. A herniated disc may cause great pain, numbness, weakness, or nerve pain or pressure. Herniated discs are a common cause of ongoing back pain and may require surgery to correct.
- Stenosis: Stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal cord that most often results in what we refer to as a pinched nerve. A CT scan or MRI is often required for proper diagnosis.
- Scoliosis: Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine. This particular injury occurs for a variety of reasons. In some cases, the spine tries to compensate for the initial curve in the spine by curving in the opposite direction below the initial curve, leading to an S-shaped spine.
- Compression Fracture: A compression fracture is the structural collapse of vertebrae. Often caused by osteoporosis or trauma, you may experience mild to severe pain depending on the severity of the fracture.
- Vertebral Fracture: Vertebral fractures are generally caused by a traumatic event, like a car or trucking accident, pedestrian accident, or serious fall.
Regardless of the type, all back injuries carry the potential to cause a lifetime of pain and suffering. The importance of a healthy back cannot be overstated or underestimated. It is used in virtually everything we do and provides our mobility. Therefore, after an accident or injury, proper back injury diagnosis and treatment are vital.
Back Injury Treatment & Pain Relief
Back injury treatment and pain relief vary from person to person and depend on the severity of the injury. Some back injuries may resolve themselves and pain can be mediated with Tylenol or Advil, while others require invasive surgery to repair.
Some of the common forms of medical treatment for back injuries include:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
- TENS unit and IDET
- Chiropractic care
- Bioelectric therapy
- Pain management
- Nerve blocks
- Spinal stimulation
- Physical therapy
- Spinal decompression therapy
Workers’ Compensation for Back Injuries
Countless workers across all industries suffer from back injuries every year. Whether you were in a work-related accident, struggle from a lasting injury, or injured your back due to defective equipment on a construction site, you could be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
The seasoned St. Louis back injury lawyers at The Dixon Injury Firm have experience in all types of personal injury and workers’ compensation claims, helping victims and victims’ families recover from financial losses due to workplace accidents and injuries.
Like other workers’ compensation claims, benefits for back injuries depend on how the injury occurred, as well as the nature and severity of the injury. These and other factors (including recovery time, lost wages, and medical expenses) work into the larger compensation equation.
Below are a few common work-related back injury causes:
- Slips and falls
- Repetitive trauma resulting in back injuries
- Equipment failure
- Heavy lifting/strain
- Compounded injuries due to other workplace accidents
Given the lasting and severe impact of back injuries, it is important that a proper diagnosis is obtained. Only then can a doctor recommend the proper course of treatment. It is at this point that the victim can begin discussing a settlement or lawsuit with an experienced attorney.
Turn to Our Experienced Legal Team
The St. Louis work-related back injury lawyers at The Dixon Injury Firm have helped accident victims recover over $50,000,000 to date. Most importantly, our lawyers can ensure you receive the medical attention needed to properly diagnose and treat your back injury.
Back injuries often result in ongoing medical expenses, lost wages, and permanent suffering. If your back injury is the result of negligence or occurred while you were on the job, you are likely entitled to compensation under Missouri personal injury or workers’ compensation laws.
There is NO FEE for a consultation with our attorneys. We are ready to help analyze your situation and make sure you are not being rushed into a settlement in order to save an insurance company money.