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Lower back injuries are common in the workplace

Pennsylvania workers, especially those who do heavy lifting, may not be surprised to learn that lower back pain is the most common cause of injuries in the workplace. Only workers with a common cold miss more time from work than back pain sufferers. More than 1 million workers nationwide suffer from work-related lower back injuries annually, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Nationwide, $11 billion is paid out in workers' compensation claims related to lower back workplace injuries.

Common causes of lower back pain include not properly lifting, pushing or carrying heavy items, or taking a sudden fall. These actions can result in strains or sprains as well as herniated discs in the lower back. Besides missing time from work, lower back pain can result in a lower quality of life outside the workplace.

Lower back pain cannot be entirely eliminated, but workers can alleviate some of these workplace injuries by learning how to properly lift or carry heavy items, lift or carry lighter loads, or use special equipment to carry heavy loads. Being in top physical condition when the job is physically demanding also may help.

Pennsylvania workers are fortunate because the state has workers' compensation in place to assist those who are injured on the job. Because lower back injuries are so common, a worker may occasionally have problems getting the claim for compensation accepted. As with other injuries, they should not delay in reporting their lower back pain to their employer. A workers' compensation attorney may be able to assist when a client's claim is denied either in whole or in part.

Source: Central States Orthopedics , "Work-Related Injuries -- Lower Back", October 21, 2014

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