What is the #1 injury workers experience in Orange County, the injury that costs the most money and accounts for the most time away from the job?
It's the common backache. We say it's common because the majority of people doing manual work at some point are struck down by it. But there is nothing common about the shooting, electric pain you experience, or your inability to normal things. You wonder if you will ever work again.
Some back injuries are brought on by a single exertion or jerk - trying to lift an object that you really shouldn't. More often, backache is the result of weeks, months or years of asking your spine to do more than it is designed to do.
Men suffer back pain just about every profession. The most common by number are those who do obviously physical work: carpenters, truck drivers, welders, baggage handlers, farm workers, machine operators and mechanics.
But don't kid yourself. Men with sedentary, non-lifting jobs also go down with aching backs. They too find themselves unable to do their work without time off and major ergonomic changes.
Women do, too
Nursing work, with its lifting and turning, is notorious for causing back problems. Other sufferers are restaurant workers, housekeepers and office cleaners, hairdressers (from standing all day) and child care workers (lifting kids and bending over). Teachers, cashiers and factory workers also go down when their backs give out.
No matter what you do, there's no reason to tolerate back pain. A tough job shouldn't force you into a life of painkillers and surgery. Fight back by directly addressing the root causes of your back pain.
What are your options?
First, be honest with yourself. You can't keep doing work that harms you. Back aches can be early signs of more serious spinal problems such as slipped disks.
Chances are, your injuries are the results of hundreds of hours of doing the same thing. Your back is the frame that holds you together and allows you to do so many things. You cannot ignore the signs that you are breaking down.
In Orange County, the wounded turn to workers' compensation for relief. Many employers are suspicious of claims, and retaliate against workers who file. Retaliation can be subtle, like paying you less or assigning you to work you don't want to do. Or it can be brutal, like terminating you.
Retaliation is illegal, and you have the right to fight back.
What to do
Your best bet, when your back goes out, is to talk to an experienced workers' comp lawyer who cares about your well-being and your future.
In and around Santa Ana, that's Katnik & Katnik. People come to us because we come through for them. We want to hear your story.