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Lower-back injury common in workplace

A person can injure his or her lower back on the job in many ways. The most common causes of lower-back injury are improper bending, carrying, lifting, pulling and pushing; slips and falls; repetitive trauma; and unexpected exertion. These activities may result in strains, sprains and herniated disks. Back strain is actually damage to ligaments, tendons or muscles. Texas readers should be aware that once these tissues are damaged, they are more likely to be reinjured.

Lower-back injury is second only to the common cold for causing days lost from work. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, more than 1 million workers suffer from back pain annually. It is estimated that the cost to the U.S. economy is between $50 and $100 billion each year.

The National Safety Council announced that 60 percent of all reported lower-back injuries are caused by overexertion. The average workers' compensation claim for lower-back injury is $8,300. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health is reviewing studies to determine the factors that cause back injury at work and what can be done to prevent them such as additional training and physical conditioning.

When a person is enduring lower back pain caused by on-the-job activities, he or she may want to determine if the injury is covered by workers' compensation that could help with medical bills, therapy and other expenses until the worker can return to the job. Some employees choose to discuss the workplace injury with a lawyer who may be able to help ensure the worker receives all the treatment and compensation to which he or she is entitled under the law.

Source: Central States Orthopedics, "Work-Related Injuries -- Lower Back", October 10, 2014

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