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Back injuries lead to many lost working days, high medical costs

Some workers in Pennsylvania may deal with temporary or chronic back pain. According to one doctor, they are hardly alone. In his recently published book on preventing and dealing with back pain, one surgeon says that 80 percent of people will have back pain at one time or another. In addition, he notes that people spend approximately $5 billion in treating back issues and miss 93 million days from work each year.

A number of jobs place heavy lifting requirements on employees. Laborers and construction workers come immediately to mind as people who stand at increased risk of sustaining a back injury in the course of their employment. But back injuries can occur at any job. Nurses often have to lift and move patients; chefs and restaurant employees must carry heavy packages of food and equipment; even office workers may be required to move weighty boxes of paper.

Back injuries can come in different varieties. There are the more severe injuries to the spinal column, such as a ruptured disc. And there are the more mild muscle strains. But as anyone with a back injury can attest, even strains can linger and cause a person to miss time from work.

Workers who hurt their back on the job may be eligible for workers' compensation, which helps employees with lost wages and medical bills. Recording an injury is important to a workers' compensation claim. Persons who have sustained a back injury while at work should make a point of having the incident placed in their medical records and should immediately notify their employer.

Source: Fox News, "Words of Wellness: 'The 7 Minute Back Pain Solution'," Loren Grush, May 2, 2012.

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