If you’ve never had a hernia before, you may not know exactly what it is or may just think of it as a pulled muscle. But a hernia is a bit more serious than that. Put simply, a hernia is a hole in the muscle layer of the abdominal wall. Through that hole, tissue, fat or part of a displaced organ can bulge through. And it happens all of the time from job injuries in Illinois.

A hernia can occur when tissue weakness combined with pressure, pushes an organ through a tear or opening in the tissue. Hernias often occur after heavy lifting or a fall. Simply based on their anatomy, it’s more common for men to develop hernias.

If it sounds painful to you, that’s because hernias can be extremely painful. There are different types of hernias, but the most common are inguinal hernias. Symptoms of an inguinal hernia may include pain or discomfort in the lower abdomen, especially when bending, lifting, or coughing.

Firefighters, law enforcement, warehouse workers, mechanics, and furniture movers are some of the most common occupations that develop hernias of some type because of their work. This is because these jobs (and others) require a lot of physical activity and movements.

Even if a strain that produces a hernia is not work-related, the work may have indirectly contributed to the muscle weakness that allowed the hernia to develop. For example, if muscle weakness was caused by repetitive heavy lifting, or by abdominal surgery necessary to correct an unrelated work injury, these could be an indirect cause of a hernia.  In that case you would likely have a valid work com case.

Even work environments can play a part in the cause of a hernia. Work environments that cause a worker to cough repeatedly, work injuries that lead to weight gain while unable to work, or medication for work injuries that are a cause of constipation, might all contribute to weakened abdominal muscles, often then causing a hernia.

Very few hernias are life threatening, but the only way to repair a hernia is surgically. Hernia recurrence rates are rare. The most common hernia surgery has a 90% success rate.

Hernia cases can be complicated because you are usually required to notify your employer within a certain amount of time after the injury. However, some cases are not diagnosed immediately or are initially misdiagnosed as just a strain. If you feel you have a hernia that is work-related, you should report it to your employer as soon as possible.

The good news is that if it happens at work in Illinois, all of your hernia related medical bills will get paid, you will be compensated for your time off work and you are entitled to a settlement.

If you have any questions about a hernia on the job or anything related to Illinois work comp law, please do not hesitate to contact us.