Neck injuries are relatively common in the workplace. If you suffer from a neck injury, not getting prompt medical care can make your condition worse. Additionally, it can make getting workers' compensation benefits more difficult. A neck injury causes a significant amount of pain and limits your mobility. It also affects your ability to sit, stand or perform certain tasks.
The most common types of neck injuries include:
- Repetitive stress injuries - These types of injuries are often caused by poor posture, such as hunching over a computer desk, table or other workspace. It can also be caused by repetitive or awkward movements of the neck and shoulders.
- Injury to the cervical spine - The cervical spine is very sensitive to trauma or overuse. If the vertebrae (small bones in the spine) or discs (cartilage between the vertebrae) become damaged or dislodged, they can place pressure on the nerves. This often results in pain, weakness, tingling, and burning in the shoulders and arms.
- Whiplash - We often associate whiplash with rear-end collisions, which can happen to workers who drive within the scope of their employment. Whiplash can also occur in other types of workplace accidents that cause a quick, sudden jolt to the head and neck. The symptoms can take several days to appear but often involve headaches, fatigue, neck stiffness, dizziness, numbness and tingling in the arms, ringing in the ears, and pain in the neck, shoulders, and upper back.
When should I see a doctor for a neck injury?
If you were involved in a workplace accident or have noticed pain and discomfort in your neck, it's important that you notify your employer in writing. Then, see a doctor as soon as possible. The severity of your neck injury can be determined through a physical examination, X-ray, CT scan and/or MRI.
Most neck injuries will gradually heal with minimal treatment and rest. Your doctor may prescribe you medication for pain and inflammation or a muscle relaxer. Additionally, your doctor may suggest that you take time off from work and apply ice and heat to the injury.
If your neck injury involved damage to the cervical spine or hasn't improved with rest, your injury may be worse than you realize. You may need to undergo an operation, especially if it causes long-term pain or burning, tingling and pain that spreads to the limbs. Additionally, you may need to undergo physical therapy until you fully recover.
Getting workers' compensation for a neck injury
Once you have notified your employer and saw a doctor, it's critical that you have documentation of both. Be sure to keep a copy of the workplace incident report, your diagnosis, doctor recommendations and treatments. This will provide key evidence to support your workers' compensation claim. The attorneys at O’Malley & Langan Law Offices can help guide you through the process of filing a claim. We'll also prepare all necessary documentation and evidence for trial and negotiate for a fair financial settlement.
If you've been injured on the job, contact us online or call us for a free case evaluation. We have law offices in Scranton, Pittson and Towanda, Pennsylvania.