Is Degenerative Disc Disease Work Related?

You’ve been having chronic pain for ages. It hits you hardest when you’re on the job. You’re starting to panic and you need reassurance.

You reach for your phone. And say to it: “Ok Google, is degenerative disc disease work related?

Luckily Google brought you here, where  the expert team of Work Injury Lawyers at Krasno, Krasno & Onwudinjo have assembled the definitive answer to your question.

If you currently suffer from arthritis, you might be at risk of developing degenerative disc disease in the future. As most people already know, arthritis specifically refers to joint inflammation. But, what most people aren’t aware of, is that a work injury that aggravates or accelerates your arthritis can progress into a condition called degenerative disc disease. And, in other cases, degenerative disc disease can even be caused by a back injury.

However, degenerative disc disease technically isn’t classified as a disease at all – it actually refers to pain that is caused by a damaged disc. Believe it or not, it’s very possible to have a herniated disc and not even know it, which can lead to extremely dangerous health conditions.

Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease

Now that you know how inconspicuous degenerative disc disease, or DDD, actually is – how can you detect a disc problem in your body? In most cases, you will experience one of the following symptoms:

  • Leg or arm pain. Since your spine acts as a conduit for the nerves that extend into your extremities, you may feel some throbbing or cramping.
  • Numbness or tingling. If the pain does reach your extremities, you might experience a numbing or tingling sensation.
  • Difficulty walking. In some serious cases, you may even experience some difficulty walking due to pain in the back or legs.

Of course, the symptoms of degenerative disc disease may vary from case to case, so it’s important to seek medical attention if you experience any abnormal pain. It’s imperative to save any documents and records that you may receive along the way from medical providers, as these will be essential in building a case if you wish to pursue workers’ comp benefits.

Risk Factors for Degenerative Disc Disease

There are three main risk factors that can contribute to degenerative disc disease; weight, age, and occupation.

Degenerative disc disease can be caused by excessive body weight since it can create added stress to your lower back, resulting in the discs becoming more fragile with more mass weighing them down.

The condition is found primarily in middle-aged adults, ranging from 35 to 45 years old. This is because your discs begin to lose their flexibility as you reach mid-life, yet your body is still performing the same level of physical activity as it always has.

And, most importantly, your work occupation can play a major impact on your discs. Those who work physically demanding jobs that require frequent pushing, lifting, twisting, and pulling are at a much higher risk of developing degenerative disc disease since their discs are under such a high level of stress.

For More Information on Degenerative Disc Disease  …

THE OK-GOOGLE SERIES

You’ve been hurt on the job. You’re stressed. You don’t know what to do. A friend suggests you might qualify for Workers’ Compensation benefits. You reach for your phone and say: “Ok Google, what is workers’ compensation?

ARTHRITIS

When a work injury aggravates, reactivates or accelerates your arthritis or degenerative disc disease, you have a right to file for workers’ compensation benefits. The term arthritis specifically means joint inflammation.

PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS

Determining whether your pain has been caused by your pre-existing condition or aggravated during work can be tricky. There are several factors you need to look at before filing a workers’ compensation claim.

How is Degenerative Disc Disease Diagnosed?

Before even considering applying for workers’ compensation benefits, you first want to understand your condition in its entirety, which includes obtaining an official medical diagnosis from a physician.

Upon your appointment, you will receive a physical examination of your body, with the doctor primarily focusing on your back and lower extremities. They will then go on to examine your back in further detail by checking your flexibility and range of motion, in addition to making note of any signs that indicate your nerve roots could be suffering from degenerative changes in your back. In most cases, this involves testing the strength of both your muscles and reflexes to ensure that they are still working as they should.

You may also be presented with a diagram to fill out, pinpointing where you are experiencing your pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness. And, after all of that is said and done, you may be ordered to undergo an X-ray or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI.)

Can Degenerative Disc Disease Be Treated?

While your condition may leave you feeling helpless at times, there are a few treatment options for degenerative disc disease depending on your severity that you can discuss with your doctor, including:

  • Non-surgical treatments. Fortunately, for those suffering from mild to moderate pain, degenerative disc disease can potentially be maintained with more non-invasive methods such as medications, chiropractic care, and physical therapy.
  • Targeted drug delivery. If an individual is suffering from chronic pain caused by spinal stenosis, targeted drug delivery may be considered as an option for treatment. This is for cases where the more conservative treatments aren’t helping out with the pain.
  • Spinal Fusion. For more severe cases of degenerative disc disease, a surgical procedure called a spinal fusion might be required to help treat pain.

How Your Job Can Aggravate Your Condition

As previously mentioned, jobs that require a large amount of manual labor can very well aggravate or accelerate a pre-existing condition such as degenerative disc disease. However, construction workers, factory workers, and warehouse workers aren’t the only laborers that can find themselves diagnosed with degenerative disc disease.

Occupations that require an individual to remain sedentary for long periods of time, such as an office worker – or perform repetitive motions, like an assembly line worker; can also develop a case of degenerative disc disease. This is because these individuals are more susceptible to aggravating their joints or accelerating their arthritic condition.

Can You File for Workers’ Comp with Degenerative Disc Disease?

If your arthritis was exacerbated by a work injury to the point that you develop degenerative disc disease, you may be able to file for workers’ compensation benefits. Although DDD is technically considered a pre-existing condition, you should be compensated if it was accelerated by an injury that was incurred on the job.

Although you are legally qualified to apply for workers’ compensation for a pre-existing condition such as degenerative disc disease, your case may present some difficulties. You will have to provide evidence that your work-related injuries aggravated your pre-existing condition, which will require gathering many documents and medical records and can be quite stressful if done alone.

Obtaining a Work Injury Lawyer for Degenerative Disc Disease

Applying for workers’ compensation benefits can be an intimidating process, especially if it involves proving that an injury suffered on the job aggravated a pre-existing condition. In this scenario, we would highly recommend that you get in touch with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.

A lawyer specializing in pre-existing conditions will be able to guide you every step of the way and determine if your case of degenerative disk disease was brought on by a work injury. They will also be able to help you collect the documents needed to present your case as effectively as possible. Whether you are seriously considering learning about your work injury options, or have already applied for workers’ comp and been denied – having a knowledgeable lawyer on your side will work in your cases’ favor to obtain you the compensation that you deserve.

If you are a victim of degenerative disc disease or another type of pre-existing condition that may have been aggravated by a work injury, you should consider filing for workers’ compensation benefits. Krasno, Krasno, & Onwudinjo is an experienced workers’ compensation law-firm that can help you with your case. If you would like to learn more or have a free case evaluation, contact us at 866-948-9088.