Back injuries and Social Security disability

Whether it is due to overexertion, a car accident, a fall or a workplace injury, there is no denying that a back injury can lay out a person for weeks, or even months. Some back injuries are so painful and long-lasting that a person in Knoxville is forced to quit work.

There are two primary types of injuries to a person’s back. One is spondylolisthesis, which is a fracture or defect in the wing-shaped portion of a person’s vertebra. This condition causes the vertebra in the person’s spine to slip backwards, forwards or even slip over a bone, usually in a person’s lower back.

Sometimes, spondylolisthesis is due to a birth defect. Other times, it is caused by a stress fracture or other type of trauma. Infection or certain types of diseases could also cause spondylolisthesis.

Some symptoms of spondylolisthesis include pain in the lower back or buttocks, which may radiate all the way down the person’s legs. There may also be stiffness, weakness or tightness in the person’s muscles. Treatment for this condition includes physical therapy, pain medications and epidural steroid injections. Surgery may be needed in extreme cases.

The second type of primary back injury is cervical radiculopathy. This occurs when a nerve root is compressed close to the person’s cervical vertebrae. This damages the nerve function, causing weakness, pain and possibly, the loss of feeling in the person’s shoulders, arms and neck. Arthritis or degenerative bone alterations could also cause cervical radiculopathy, as could an injury that places pressure on the root of the person’s nerves in the area.

The primary symptom of cervical radiculopathy is pain, which can occur in the person’s shoulders, chest, neck or arms. There could also be a tingling or numbing sensation in the person’s hands or fingers. There may also be muscle weakness or poor coordination, particularly in the person’s hands. Treatment for this condition includes physical therapy, pain medication and steroids. In extreme cases, surgery might be needed.

Recovering from a severe back injury can be a lengthy process, and some people may never recover at all. They may have chronic pain and long-lasting difficulties standing, sitting or even performing basic tasks. If they cannot work for a year or more, and meet all other requirements, they may want to consider seeking Social Security Disability benefits.

Source: WebMD.com, “Back Pain Health Center,” accessed on Oct. 1, 2016