As some Californians can attest, nothing can be as debilitating as a back injury. Some back injuries just put a person out of commission and on the couch for a few days, but the person is otherwise able to return to work as normal. However, other back injuries can disable a person entirely, forcing them to exit the workforce. One of these potentially career-ending injuries is a herniated disk.

The bones in our spine (vertebrae) stack one on top of the other like a series of blocks to form the spine. In-between each vertebra is a spinal disk. These disks have a strong exterior, but a soft jelly-like interior. They provide a cushion between each vertebra. However, an injury known as a “herniated disk” takes place when the exterior of the disk tears, causing the soft material in the center to come out of the disk.

While some people are lucky enough to only have minor symptoms (or none at all) after suffering a herniated disk, others are not so lucky and will go on to experience extreme pain, numbness in the affected appendages and weakness. This is because the injury causes irritation to nearby nerves. These symptoms can keep a person from being able to complete daily living tasks, including going to work. In severe cases, a person could suffer incontinency or difficulty urinating and a complication known as “saddle anesthesia.”

A person can get a herniated disk from lifting something heavy, twisting while trying to lift something, falling down or being struck in the back. These actions can often occur in the workplace. Some jobs, such as construction work or manufacturing, are very physically demanding and require a lot of repetitive motions. If proper care isn’t taken to protect workers’ backs, a worker could suffer a career-ending herniated disk injury on-the-job. When this happens, the worker may want to determine if it is possible to pursue a personal injury lawsuit, in order to recover compensation for the harms they suffered.