A herniated disk is every bit as painful as it sounds. Furthermore, the pain and discomfort associated with this injury can slow you down, thus making it very difficult to live the life you've come to enjoy.
There are many causes of herniated disks, such as lifting too much weight, blunt force trauma, slip-and-fall accident, car accident and a fall from height.
Many people suffer a herniated disk on the job, especially those who work in physically demanding industries such as construction. If you suspect this injury, don't hesitate to report it to your employer and seek medical attention.
Your doctor can run a variety of tests to pinpoint your injury, as well as the severity. These include:
- CT scan
After reviewing the results of these tests, you can work closely with your medical team to determine the type of treatment strategy that suits you best. Some of the most common options include:
- Medication: This includes pain medication, muscle relaxers, cortisone injections and anticonvulsants. You may only need one of these, but you'll want to discuss each type with your doctor.
- Physical therapy: If your herniated disk doesn't begin to feel better after several weeks of rest, it may be time to consider the benefits of physical therapy. It's not comfortable at first, but therapy can go a long way in regaining strength and improving flexibility.
- Surgery: While it's not typically required for a herniated disk, there are times when surgery is necessary to make a full recovery. This is typically the case if you're experiencing weakness, numbness, difficulty walking or standing, and/or loss of bowel or bladder control. There are several types of surgical procedures to discuss with your doctor, such as a discectomy.
Most people who suffer a herniated disk are fully aware that something is wrong. While they may not know the exact type of injury, there's enough pain that they understand the importance of seeking care.
If you injure your back or neck on the job, do the following:
- Report the accident to your employer
- Receive medical care
- Share the findings of your medical tests with your employer
- Determine if you can return to work
If you're unable to return to your job, you can file a claim for workers' compensation benefits. This can help minimize the financial impact of your injury.