Have you started feeling a sudden sharp pain or mild discomfort in the abdomen when lifting items at work or while sitting down or standing up? Have you been lifting a lot of documents or equipment at work? Have you been sitting in an awkward position and noticed that your back hurts more than usual? All of this can be a sign that you have sustained an injury at work and that you could be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Whether it’s herniated soft tissue or discs in your spine, you shouldn’t take it lightly. Although you might not be in excruciating pain, it’s better to start your road to recovery by seeking appropriate medical attention. In case you are worried that your employer or insurance carrier might deny that your injury happened at work, it’s time to contact your lawyer.
Keep reading to learn more about work-related hernia, how to recognize the symptoms, identify causes, and the means for recovery.
Table of Contents
Definition, symptoms, and types of hernia
A hernia can be defined as a dislocation or exit of the tissue or organ outside the cavity in which it is normally located. In other words, a part of the organ or tissue is pushed through the cavity or a weak spot in the surrounding muscles. It usually occurs in the lower abdominal area, around the stomach, and lowers back.
In most cases, hernia causes almost no symptoms, while some people may experience swelling or a lump on the groin or the belly. These are the most common types of hernia, by location on the body:
- inguinal, located at the inner groin, usually this is the part of the intestine or bladder protruding through the abdominal wall or into the inguinal canal
- femoral, on the outer groin
- umbilical, located on or around the belly button
- hiatal, on the upper stomach
- incisional, i.e. resulting from an incision, whether surgical or due to an injury.
What are the main causes of work-related hernia?
On the mechanical and biological level, the main causes of hernia arise from combining the right amount of physical pressure and the existence of a cavity or soft spot in muscular tissue or fascia. The pressure moves the tissue or organ outside the normal location. In some cases, congenital muscle weakness can contribute to the occurrence of hernia, while more frequently, it happens later in life, whether at school, work, or at home.
The most common causes of hernia that happens in the workplace include:
- heavy lifting without adequate technique or protective equipment, whether it is long-term or short-term
- cumulative trauma due to constant lifting and pulling
- performing tasks or sitting in improper body posture
- heavy and chronic sneezing and coughing, especially in workspaces that are not adequately ventilated
- diarrhea and constipation, if you don’t eat properly at work, this can tear the soft tissue and make you more prone to hernia
How much does it take to recover from a hernia?
When you have to take a sick leave due to a hernia procedure, you could expect to be back at work within a couple of weeks after the surgery. However, if your job typically includes strenuous activity such as heavy lifting, you may need to consider additional 4-6 weeks off. Of course, in all such cases, you should strictly follow your doctor’s instructions.
Will workers’ compensation fully cover hernia recovery?
If you sustain a hernia at work, you can count on your workers’ compensation insurance to cover the lost wages and medical treatment. Nevertheless, it is worth remembering that it is usually your own responsibility to prove that the injury occurred at work.
If you want to gather valuable evidence, it is important to keep track of your medical records, inform your employer in a timely manner, and contact a reliable work comp attorney. This way, you can have another layer of security. Knowing that someone will do their best to ensure you get the benefits you are entitled to, including compensation for the lost wages, surgery, and other medical bills, you will be able to get back on your feet without worries.