Degenerative disk disease is caused by wear and tear on the spinal disks. This condition appears when a person’s disks lose the ability to absorb shock naturally over time. Typically found either in the lower back or upper neck this disease is known to cause chronic pain, weakness and numbness. While it may sound like this disease gets worse with time, the term “Degenerative” actually refers to the process of the disk degenerating over time. According to some specialists, more often than not, the pain that is caused in the back or neck is actually from another injury and not the condition itself. Workers compensation can cover degenerative disk disease for that reason.
Highly repetitive motions, high impact activities or even a job where you remain sitting for too long of a period may contribute to degenerative disk disease. Aggravation of degenerative disk disease may happen if a person is required to do heavy lifting, twisting and turning or any other motions that may lead the typical person to a back injury. In other words, you see this problem a ton in Illinois workers’ compensation cases.
Aggravation of degenerative disk disease is likely covered regardless of the term “preexisting condition” due to the fact that the work responsibilities made the condition worse. Under Illinois work injury law, if the job duties are a factor in your injury, even if they aren’t the only or primary factor, you are still entitled to receive work comp benefits.
Workers compensation will cover all of your medical bills, and could provide you with income while you are unable to work. In addition, a determination may be made that you are unable to return to work at all or need to get trained for a new career. We see that a lot with degenerative disc disease because the nature of your job duties often means that you can’t safely work or will always be exposed to a likely re-injury.
The biggest way we see insurance companies fight a degenerative disc disease diagnosis is when it’s the only thing that shows up on a MRI after you’ve had a specific injury like back pain when lifting a box. Don’t be fooled by this defense. They will try to tell you that since nothing else showed up it’s a per-existing condition and not covered. The truth is that even if you have some underlying injury, if it’s not a problem until you get hurt while working, your case should still be covered.
If you have any questions or concerns, contact us any time for help anywhere in Illinois. All calls are free and confidential.