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A working career as a truck driver can result in back injury

Perhaps you are a veteran truck driver and have dealt with your share of injuries over the years.

Until recently, however, you have remained fairly healthy, but now you are contending with a back injury. What is the problem, and will it qualify you for workers’ compensation?

What happens

As the driver of a big rig, you also lift and position cargo as a routine part of your job. Daily tasks that take a physical toll include simple activities like bending, twisting and climbing in and out of the cab. Everyday movement combined with the minor injuries you have experienced over time may cause small lesions or tears in the outer wall of your spinal disks. Eventually, these disks succumb to the effect of wear and tear and you find yourself dealing with degenerative disk disease.

Red flags

The symptoms depend on the site of the injury. You could have inconsistent discomfort or nagging pain. It may feel worse when you are sitting behind the wheel and better if you move around or lie down. The pain may last a few days or a few months. If the damaged disks affect nerves near your spine, you may experience tingling or numbness in your arms or legs. Treatment often includes medication that relieves inflammation and physical therapy that can strengthen your back muscles. More serious injury may require steroid shots or surgery to take pressure off the nerves affected by the damaged disks.

Time to move forward

In your case, degenerative disk disease is likely a cumulative injury that has progressed throughout your time as a truck driver. Because this condition is work-related, it qualifies for workers’ compensation benefits. There is no reason to delay; you have a right to expect full and fair coverage for your medical expenses and any lost wages. If your condition should prevent you from returning to work, you may also qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.

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