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Herniated cervical discs and workers' compensation

Injuries to the back are not uncommon in the workplace. People in California who hurt their backs at work may be eligible for workers' compensation to cover their expenses during recovery. One potential back problem workers could develop is a herniated disc. As workers age, they might become more susceptible to this type of injury.

A herniated cervical disc could cause a range of sensations in the arms or shoulders, and in rare cases in the legs as well. These sensations might include pain, tingling or numbness in the affected area. A difference in strength or reflexes could indicate a disc herniation. The symptoms occur because a displaced disc has slipped out of alignment and is pressing against nerves. Nerves are responsible for sending messages throughout the body, such as letting the brain know that an area of the body is experiencing pain or discomfort. Since discs reside between the spinal vertebra and nerves travel from the spinal cord throughout the body, pressure from a disc might register as pain somewhere nearby.

A herniated disc refers to one that has broken through its outer layer, known as the annulus fibrosus, and is no longer between the vertebrae absorbing shock like it is supposed to. Each vertebra in the spinal column is connected by two facet joints and a disc, which allow the neck and back to rotate and bend in multiple directions. Deterioration of the discs can occur over time, leaving the annulus fibrosus more vulnerable to tearing.

Workers who rupture a disc or otherwise injure their neck or back might need medical care or time off. An attorney can help a client in this situation with filing a claim for workers' compensation and providing representation throughout the process.

Source: North American Spine Society, "Herniated Cervical Disc ", October 28, 2014

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