Spinal stenosis is defined as a narrowing of the bone channel occupied by the spinal nerves or spinal cord. Typically, it is caused by degeneration of the bones, disks, muscles and ligaments that make up the spinal column. However, in certain instances and jobs, work can add to this already extremely painful condition; causing a person to have extreme radiating pain in their back and neck.
Sometimes, if left untreated, it can also cause weakness and numbness to a person as well. There are some non-surgical treatments for spinal stenosis including physical therapy and activity modification, epidural injections and medications. Surgical decompression is an option depending on the severity of the case, and other conditions and risks.
Symptoms develop over time and this condition is sometimes hard to prove was caused by a job. Most workers compensation insurance companies will claim spinal stenosis is caused by old age, deterioration, and not any specific job. However, in some instances, with the help of an experienced attorney you may be successful in your workers compensation claim. For instance, if a mechanic is able to show years of medically documented, progressing back pain throughout his career, it would make sense that over time his job duties contributed to the condition. The same could be said for any person in a labor-intensive career, or one who puts excessive pressure on his or her back on a regular basis.
The KEY POINT is that just because other things have contributed to your back problem or if a doctor says it’s degenerative does not mean you have no case. Part of the reason your condition is degenerative can be from your job activities. If that’s true then you should have a winning case.
To be successful in a worker’s compensation case, a doctor must determine that the persons job duties were a contributing factor to the condition. It’s important that you give your doctor a detailed description of what you do at work, how you do it, how often you do it, how long you’ve been doing it for, the weights you lift, the amount your bend, etc. You could have a winning case and lose because your physician doesn’t have enough information.
The most important thing you can do if you have been diagnosed with spinal stenosis is get the right medical treatment, usually with an orthopedic doctor. If you think your back condition may be work related or want to know if it is, contact us for a free consultation. We have helped in hundreds of spinal stenosis cases throughout Illinois and would be happy to talk to you to see what options you have and/or answer any questions you may have.