Close
baltimore automobile accident lawyer

Can a Workplace Injury Aggravate Degenerative Disc Disease?


Back pain is incredibly difficult to deal with because it affects everything we do on a daily basis.  Often, this back pain is caused by a condition called degenerative disc disease.  You may be wondering whether a recent workplace caused or exacerbated your degenerative disc disease.
Workplace injuries such as slip and falls or accidents involving the lifting of heavy objects are likely to aggravate spinal conditions such as degenerative disc disease.  Treatments for degenerative disc disease can be expensive.  If your employer should have taken reasonable steps to prevent further injury or accommodate your condition, you may be able to recover the cost of your treatment, as well as additional damages to reflect your lost wages and the pain and suffering you have experienced as a result of your injuries.
The experienced Baltimore workplace injury lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras are well equipped with the knowledge and resources necessary for your recovery.  You deserve our help when you are battling for the compensation you deserve.  For a free initial consultation on your potential case, call us today at (410) 694-7291.

What is Degenerative Disc Disease?

Degenerative disc disease is actually not a disease at all.  Instead, it refers to the gradual wear-and-tear on a person’s spinal disc.  Over time, the cartilage in the spinal joints may wear down, resulting in a form of arthritis.  As with any spinal condition, degenerative disc disease has the potential to impact a person in a number of different ways and can be incredibly painful to deal with.

How is Degenerative Disc Disease Related to Workplace Injuries?

Degenerative disc disease happens to all of us over time as a consequence of age and continued stress on the disc.  Sometimes, the condition is so mild that we may not even realize it.  However, certain external factors may impact how rapidly the condition progresses and how it affects you.
One of these external factors is a workplace injury.  Though the name suggests that the condition is a “disease,” it would be more accurate to describe it as the consequences of a series of impacts and stresses on a particular disc.  A workplace accident can substantially worsen degenerative disc disease that you may not even be aware already exists.  If you slip and fall on your back at work or throw out your back while lifting a heavy object, the pain you experience could be caused by the exacerbation of your degenerative disc disease.

Common Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease

The spine is central to a person’s nervous system.  Therefore, evidence of degenerative disc disease in the spine can present itself across the body.  the most common symptom of degenerative disc disease is lower back pain or pressure.  People dealing with this condition often also experience a loss of flexibility, particularly in the neck.
Below are summaries of the difficulties that people with degenerative disc disease experience commonly:

  • Pain when holding a position, such as standing or sitting for long periods of time
  • Instability or “giving out” feeling in the spine
  • Pain when bending or twisting the spine
  • Pain that can only relieved in positions where the spine is supported (i.e., lying down with a pillow under the knees)
  • Stabbing or burning pain in the upper extremities or in the hips

If the condition worsens beyond a certain point, it may begin to affect the nerves in the extremities.  People with degenerative disc disease sometimes report that the pain from their back or neck radiates to their arms and hands or down to their buttocks.  If the nerves are substantially affected, you may also experience tingling or numbness in the fingers.  Numbness is a sign that the damage being done might not be reparable, so you should seek medical attention immediately if you are experiencing these symptoms.

Treatments for Degenerative Disc Disease

Sometimes, people suffering from degenerative disc disease may treat their condition sufficiently by using heat and ice treatment and stretching prior to physical activity.  However, for those whose work responsibilities may hinder their ability to treat or recover from their condition fully, additional measures may be required.
Your physician may request the use of a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit, a device that uses electric pulses to reduce the body’s pain signals.  Your doctor may also suggest a steroid injection in the painful area to provide temporarily relief.  These techniques are designed for pain management, not to cure the condition, so they will likely have to be conducted continuously and in conjunction with other practices such as physical therapy.
Degenerative disc disease can also lead to or exacerbate a number of other spinal conditions, such as spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, spondylolisthesis, or scoliosis.  In certain situations, surgery may be required to repair the condition in order to avoid development of further complications.

Can You Sue for Compensation for a Workplace Injury that Caused Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease is a real workplace injury for which you deserve compensation. Whether you will be able to sue will depend on the laws in your jurisdiction as well as whether your injury reasonably could and should have been prevented by your employer.  For a thorough conversation about your legal options on your specific case, speak to one of our experienced Baltimore personal injury attorneys.
If you are successful in your lawsuit, you can recover compensation for the harms that your injury has caused you.  This includes your medical treatment and rehabilitation expenses.  All procedures, appointments, medications, and modifications to your home or vehicle to accommodate your injuries will likely be covered.  You can also pursue damages for your lost wages due to time missed at work as a result of your injuries.  Since degenerative disc disease is likely to affect your lifestyle and ability to engage in activities as you had previously, damages will also include estimates in line with your pain, suffering, and the emotional consequences of dealing with your condition.

Workplace Injury that Caused Degenerative Disc Disease?  Our Lawyers Can Help

At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, our dedicated Ocean City personal injury attorneys are ready to get to work for you.  To hear more about the compensation you could receive in a potential lawsuit for your injuries, call us for free today at (410) 694-7291.