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Don’t ignore the signs of a workplace back injury

If you work in a physically active job, whether you are a transportation professional or someone who works in a manufacturing facility, you likely understand the risk that physical injury creates for your happiness and career. An injury that you suffer as part of your duties on the job could impact your ability to continue working.

Many professionals who work in physically demanding careers often find themselves forced to ignore the early symptoms of an injury. From discomfort in your joints to pain in your back, you may feel like you don’t have the option of seeking medical care for physical discomfort. However, especially when it comes to your back, ignoring the signs of a physical injury could mean paying a very steep price later on in life.

Untreated back injuries can get worse over time

There is a very good reason why many employers require back braces and employee education for proper lifting techniques. It only takes a split second for someone to cause catastrophic injury to their back while performing lifting duties at work.

Whether you were helping load a semitruck or moving a component into its proper place on an assembly line, lifting something heavy creates a lot of risk for staff. While you may feel tempted to simply power through the pain and rest on the weekends, that approach could mean that your injury gets worse over time instead of healing.

In some cases, the lack of adequate rest can continue to place strain on traumatized muscle or connective tissue in your back. Other times, continuing to work can increase the severity of the injury, especially in the event of torn or herniated tissue. Seeking prompt medical care can ensure that you know how to properly treat your injury. It also helps to ensure that your employer will take it seriously.

Make use of your employer’s health center if they have one

Many employers with workers at risk for injury, such as manufacturing companies, will have a nurse or a small medical facility on-site in the building. The idea is to perform immediate triage as necessary and document the severity of injuries before an outside doctor becomes involved in the situation.

Instead of avoiding visiting the medical facilities at work, you should utilize them if you need them. Your employer wouldn’t provide them if they didn’t understand the nature of your job and the risk it entails. On-site medical staff can corroborate your claims of a back injury and recommend that you seek outside care. They can also create a paper trail in your place of employment that will help you if you need to seek medical benefits in the future.

Workers’ compensation typically requires that employees report an injury to an employer before they file a claim. On-site medical care usually qualifies as part of the reporting process.