FindLaw KnowledgeBasePublished: 2012-05-10
Sometimes the most difficult tasks for workers do not involve high-impact activities like handling equipment or moving loads. In America’s information-based, desk-dependent economy, many workers have difficulty enduring the work day due to chronic back pain or repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome.
The aches and sharp pains that accompany certain medical problems involving the spine, shoulders and wrists can make a day spent at the keyboard in an office chair a difficult test of endurance. This pain takes a terrible toll on productivity for afflicted workers, and can ultimately undermine a person’s ability to earn a living.
The National Institutes of Health recommends a range of strategies to help workers deal with back pain. These include everything from ergonomic furniture and tools to maintaining proper posture and engaging in exercises that will not strain or jolt the spine. While most people who experience acute lower back pain will see improvement within a few days, the NIH suggests that anyone who does not experience a reduction in pain or noticeable swelling within 72 hours should seek medical diagnosis.
To be considered chronic, back pain must persist for more than three months. Because the sensation of pain is often progressive, the sufferer may have a difficult time pinpointing the source. When pain does not respond to bed rest, surgery or other treatments, the back pain sufferer may have significant concerns about his or her ongoing employment prospects and the related financial implications.
Pursuing Disability Benefits for Back Pain and Related Conditions
Whether the discomfort was caused by a previous injury, a joint disorder such as arthritis, or a condition like Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, disability attorneys can help clients understand their eligibility for programs such as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for Americans who cannot return to work. Because back injuries are not always susceptible to objective medical tests, thorough documentation of pain, discomfort and other symptoms is crucial to building a sustainable case for benefits.
An SSDI lawyer can explain whether MRIs or other diagnostic imaging can help establish the nature of a painful back condition that prevents a worker from returning to the workplace. By working diligently with medical and legal professionals, back pain sufferers can explore their options for physical and financial relief.