Back Trauma Among Most Frequent Workplace Injuries

The Most Common Caused by Motor Vehicle AccidentsRegardless of the type of job you have—whether heavy construction, manufacturing, retail, or office—the most common workplace maladies are those that affect your back. It’s estimated that every year over a million workers suffer a back injury on the job, making it the primary cause of work-related disability in the United States. Studies show that back injuries account for one in every five work injuries, leading to more than 250 million lost work days annually.

The Most Common Types of Job-Related Back Injuries

Work-related back injuries include a broad range of events:

  • Strains, sprains, and pulled or torn connective tissue—These types of injuries are frequently found in occupations that involve lifting, bending, pushing, or pulling, including warehouse work, manufacturing, and construction. These injuries can affect muscles, tendons, and ligaments, leading to significant pain and loss of mobility.
  • Repetitive strain, stress, or motion—These injuries can occur in almost any occupation and can involve repeated use of hands, shoulders, hips, knees, or other joints, causing inflammation, swelling, or aggravation of nerves.
  • Bulging, herniated, or slipped discs—The vertebrae in your spinal cord are protected and cushioned by soft discs that act like a shock absorber, minimizing rubbing and friction. Repetitive stress or motion, as well as traumatic accidents, can cause the disc to rupture or move out of place, impinging on nerves. When that happens, you can experience substantial pain and a compromised range of motion.
  • Pinched nerves—Your spinal cord is the nerve center of your body. When one of the discs in your back slips out of place and puts pressure on a nerve, it can radiate out to your neck, arms, and legs, causing pain and loss of sensation.
  • Broken back—Fractured vertebrae in your back typically result from a serious accident, such as a fall or a motor vehicle crash.

The Most Common Work-Related Injuries

The Most Common Caused by Motor Vehicle AccidentsWhether you work in an office, in construction, in a warehouse, or in retail, you can be at significant risk of suffering a workplace injury. In fact, workplace accidents are among the leading causes of non-fatal injuries every year. Here are the most frequent types of injuries suffered on the job:

  • Repetitive motion or stress injury— When you do the same thing over and over again for eight hours a day, five days a week, you can be susceptible to motion or stress injury. Such injuries typically involve joints or connective tissue like tendons, ligaments, muscles, or cartilage. As a consequence, repetitive stress or motion injuries often occur in the knees, elbow, shoulder, hips, hands, and feet. You also can incur injury by remaining in the same position for too many hours. As a general rule, when connective tissue is subjected to repetitive stress or motion, you can experience inflammation and swelling, as well as strains and tears.
  • Over extension— Over extension typically involves pushing, pulling, carrying, moving, lifting, or squatting. It typically leads to back injuries hyperextension of knees, elbows, shoulders, and other joints; and sprained, strained, or torn muscles. In addition, overextension can lead to herniated, bulging, or ruptured discs.
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)— The most common types of accidents at work are slip-and-falls, falls from heights, and being struck by falling objects. These types of accidents are a common cause of head injuries, including concussions.
  • Motor vehicle accident injuries— Some of the most severe work-related injuries are caused by vehicles in motion, whether forklifts, delivery trucks, heavy equipment, or company cars. The injuries most often associated with vehicle crashes include spinal cord trauma, whiplash, soft tissue injury, disc trauma, and broken bones. Your spine houses your central nervous system, and even slight bruising can cause swelling that impinges nerves, leading to pain and even loss of sensation. Soft-tissue injury, which involves muscles and other connective tissue, can make it difficult to perform basic tasks, such as walking, sitting, or standing.