Back pain results from damage to the soft tissue and muscles supporting the spine, tendons and ligaments. The spine depends on the surrounding muscles and soft tissues to hold the spine upright, support body weight and perform basic movements.

Muscle strain or lumbar sprains from overuse or overextension results in the muscle or ligament tissue tearing. The resulting discomfort ranges from a dull ache to shooting pains.

An at risk workforce

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the leading cause of back injuries in the workplace is overexertion. Back injuries account for nearly one in five workplace injuries and are the leading reason for missed work.

Workers in physically demanding fields face higher risk for back strain. Workers in six occupations accounted for more than 25 percent of sprain and strain injuries, including construction workers, nurses and freight laborers. Injuries often occur from lifting or pushing heavy objects, overreaching, event reaction and repetitive motion. Workers who suffer a back injury on the job are often eligible for workers’ compensation.

Compensation complications

Back injuries are frequently coupled with injuries to other body parts, such as the neck or shoulder. Pain from a back injury may be acute, lasting less than six weeks, or chronic and lasting for years. Severe back and spine injuries may require permanent work restrictions or transitioning to lighter work.

Despite advances in medicine, difficulties with back pain diagnosis and treatment persist. Employers often dispute back injury claims and may accuse employees with a valid back injury of malingering. Since back injuries differ substantially, compensation varies for each case. For workers in pain, the task of proving a job-related injury is an uphill battle. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can tackle report filing and negotiations so you can focus on recovery.