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Slipped Disc Back Injuries And How They Occur At Work

13th June 2011
By gavinalecron in Legal
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Discs are circular pads of connective tissue which separate the individual vertebrae in the spine.They act as cushions or shock absorbers between the bones, providing stability and mobility in the back. When the strong outer shell of a disc is penetrated, the gel inside may leak and protrude out.This is popularly known as a slipped disc, and medically as a ruptured or herniated disc.Initially a slipped disc may not be noticeable, but will become apparent when the bulge from the ruptured disc presses on individual nerves or the spinal cord.A slipped disc in the lower back will usually cause intense pain, and pressure on the spinal nerves may cause sciatica, where shooting pain will radiate down the body and the back of the legs.A slipped disc will normally heal fully in 4-6 weeks, though in more severe cases surgery may be required, with estimates showing success rates of 60-90% for operations on the lower spine.

Apart from the lumbar (lower back), discs in the spine may also rupture in the upper back and neck.When nerves are irritated in these areas, shooting pains will often radiate down the arms, and in severe cases a person may experience loss of bladder or bowel control.If a slipped disc actually damages nerves or individual vertebrae (which may press against each other due to lack of support), loss of sensation and mobility in the back may result.This can be either temporary or permanent, and may lead to a lifetime of back trouble or partial disability.The most important factors in treating a slipped disc injury are rest, painkillers and physiotherapy to build up strength in the back.While most people will need only a few weeks off work to recover from a slipped disc, others may be left with a residual weakness in the back that may prevent them returning to work at all.Compensation awards for slipped disc injuries will be highest in cases of this kind.

Slipped disc injuries in the workplace are commonly the result of manual handling activities such as lifting, carrying and stacking.Physical tasks of this kind place strain on the spine, and excessive weight may cause a disc to rupture.The disc may also be worn down over time due to small repetitive motions in the course of work, such as lifting, bending and stretching.Construction and nursing are two industries with a high incidence of slipped disc injuries among workers, due to the cumulative amount of weight they are asked to lift during the course of a shift.Falls at work, especially from height, may also cause slipped discs in the workplace, as can crush injuries from collisions.Employers must ensure that workers are not required to lift excessive loads, and that they are trained in safe lifting techniques.Workers must take adequate breaks from repetitive physical tasks, and must be provided with the appropriate safety equipment when carrying out manual handling tasks.

For a slipped disc injury requiring laminectomy (a spine operation), or one resulting in repeated relapses and ongoing back problems, compensation typically ranges from 8,000 to 17,750, depending in large part on the severity of the original injury and the level of disability it has caused. Lower compensation awards for slipped disc injuries will depend on the length of time it takes to make a full recovery, or recovery to 'nuisance level'.Compensation awards (assuming no surgery has been necessary) will range between 5,000 and 8,000 where recovery is within about five years, and where recovery is made within two years awards will be anything up to 5,000.Special damages are also awarded by courts to cover financial losses resulting from a slipped disc injury, including loss of earnings, travel expenses and the cost of medical treatment.

Bartletts Solicitors are specialists in claiming compensation for back injuries suffered at work such as a slipped disc.We will claim compensation for work accidents on a no win no fee basis meaning that if you win your claim you will keep 100% of damages awarded.For more details and information about compensation slipped disc and claim slipped disc please visit our website.
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