Spinal Injuries at Work
Injuries at work place are very common and may be debilitating. Global statistics report that around 260 million non-fatal injuries occur every year around the world of which 350,000 cases may suffer death. Workplace injuries often occur because of high-risk jobs, lack of or scarcity in safety devices, lack of training and higher numbers of manual workers.
Spinal injuries are the most common workplace injuries that may occur while operating heavy machines, lifting heavy objects, driving automobiles or when you suffer a fall at the workplace.
Common spinal injuries you may suffer at the workplace include:
- Dislocation of adjacent bones
- Partial misalignment (subluxation) of adjacent bones
- Disc compression (herniated disc)
- Hematoma (accumulation of blood)
- Partial or complete tears of ligaments
The most common symptom of spinal injuries is pain. Some injuries may damage spinal nerves that may cause inflammation, loss of muscle control and loss of sensation. It may result in paralysis, limited movement and immobility. Workplace injuries are diagnosed using X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans and magnetic-resonance imaging (MRI) scans.
A diagnosis of facet joint arthritis is confirmed by injecting a small amount of a combination of x-ray contrast material, local anaesthesia and corticosteroid into the joint. Relief of pain after the injection confirms the diagnosis of facet joint arthritis.
Depending on the type and severity of injury, you may be treated with pain medications, epidural injections (injecting into spine), physiotherapy and surgery. Surgery is recommended when other treatments are a failure or inappropriate. Your spine surgeon may recommend rehabilitation that includes both physiotherapy and occupational therapy to promote complete and faster healing.