Lincoln Injury Blog

What is a herniated disk and how can I tell if I have one?

Not to be confused with a hernia, which is a different type of injury, a herniated disk is a type of back injury. A person's "backbone" is made up of several bones called vertebrae. Between these vertebrae are disks filled with water and other matter that act kind of like pads or shock absorbers on a car, keeping the vertebrae from colliding.

Unfortunately, sometimes, these disks bulge out or rupture, particularly as workers get older and therefore lose fluid in their spinal disks. In many cases, the condition is simply the result of wear and tear on the body, and a Lincoln, Nebraska, resident might not even be able to tell how the condition started.

It is important to remember, though, that frequent and repetitive motion involving the back certainly does not help and may be a risk factor for a herniated disk. Moreover, sometimes awkward lifting in which one has to exert his or her back or twist in the middle of a lift can cause a herniated disk. In rare cases, something like falling or getting hit hard in the back can cause a herniated disk.

A worker with a herniated disk may not experience symptoms, but as the disk puts pressure on the nearby nerves, a person will start to feel pain in either the legs or the arms, depending on how far up the herniated disk is located on the spine. A worker should consider seeing a doctor and reporting the injury if he or she starts to experience a tingling or numb sensation or begins to suffer muscle weakness. In the most severe cases, a herniated disk could lead to incontinence or even paralysis or permanent weakness.

If a Nebraska resident suffers from a herniated disk either after doing a heavy difficult lift at work or even if he or she just does a lot of bending and lifting on the job, then he or she should understand that workers' compensation benefits may be available for this type of back injury.

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