Herniated discs are a common work related injury. The inter-vertebral disc is a cushion that exists between each of the spinal vertebrae. Covered in a fibrous connective tissue, that surrounds cartilaginous material surrounding a central jelly like substance. The disc acts to cushion the forces of gravity that the spinal vertebrae experience. When too much force is applied the fibrous covering can tear ( annular tear ) or the central gelatinous material can be forcefully extruded to the out side. This results in the space between the vertebrae diminishing, and the facet joints engaging each other with more force. The disc material that is pressed out can bulge out, or can be totally extruded to the out side. Both conditions can lead to inflammation and pain. Usually time heals the injury as long as too much force is not incurred at the site of injury. Sometimes surgery is needed to correct the structural changes. Sometimes a simple discectomy is performed. other times pressure put on the nerves exiting the spine are relieved with a laminectomy. In some cases due to structural changes a spinal fusion is performed by an orthopedic surgeon.
Back injuries, more specifically, disc herniation often result in disabilities. Depending on the nature of the occupation the person is involved in, the disability may keep them from returning to that job.
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