About 8 out of 10 people suffer from back pain, including bulging discs, during their lives, according to the Mayfield Brain and Spine Clinic. For some older people, a bulging disc is part of the aging process, where general wear and tear is catching up to them. Too many people, though, suffer injuries on the job that cause them to lose days, weeks or even months of work.
Common on-the-job causes of bulging discs include:
- Improper lifting of objects
- Car accidents
- Repetitive motion (constant bending, twisting or lifting)
- Sitting, standing or driving for long periods
- Work areas that do not meet ergonomic standards
Symptoms include severe pain in the lower back that can radiate down one or both legs and into the feet, muscle spasms, and tingling and numbness in the upper and lower extremities. In severe cases, patients experience foot drop (a foot flops while walking), extreme leg weakness, and difficulty controlling bladder or bowel function.
What are some treatments for a bulging disc?
A doctor will perform an examination to trace the cause of the pain. The doctor may order imaging studies, such as an X-ray, MRI scan, myelogram, CT scan or EMG. Based on the results, a patient may be referred to a neurologist, orthopedist or neurosurgeon.
The first treatments likely will include medication, rest, physical therapy, home exercises, hydrotherapy, epidural steroid injections, chiropractic manipulation and pain management. About 80 percent of people report improvement in about six weeks and can resume normal activity.
If a patient does not respond to the treatment or shows signs of nerve damage, such as weakness or loss of feeling in the legs, surgery is an option. Procedures vary, with 80-85 percent of patients returning to work in about six weeks.
Don’t give into pain or temptation
If you have suffered a bulging disc injury on the job, you likely will pursue a workers’ compensation case. The system is complex, sometimes appearing like it was designed for the sole purpose of frustrating you. Further, your employer may not be willing to admit any responsibility for your accident. They may, in fact, blame you for your injury. A company doctor may back them up. In the meantime, you are in pain, out of work and unable to support your family. Your injury could be permanent. An insurance company will assume you are desperate. They'll make a lowball financial settlement that is tempting to accept because you need the money.
The workers’ compensation lawyers at the O’Malley & Langan Law Offices have been helping people like you for 30 years throughout Pennsylvania, including Lackawanna, Luzerne, Bradford, Schuykill, Lehigh, Monroe, Wyoming and Wayne counties. They know how to treat you with the professionalism and compassion that you deserve. Because they work on a contingency fee basis, they collect nothing unless they win your case. Contact us today for a free consultation.