If your job duties require you to lift, bend and twist, you may eventually develop a herniated disk. This condition happens when the jelly-like cushions between your vertebrae rupture, shift or move out of place.
Even though herniated disks can be excruciatingly painful, doctors have a variety of ways to repair the problem. If treatment options do not work, though, you may experience significant and life-altering complications.
Incontinence is one of the more embarrassing consequences of a severe or untreated herniated disk. If a damaged disk presses against the nerves that control your bladder and bowels, you may have little or no control over your basic bodily functions. Incontinence, of course, may lead to infections and other medical issues.
Because your spinal cord is delicate, it has a strong spine to protect it. If a herniated disk makes it way outside a vertebra, however, it may compress your spinal cord. This compression may cause long-term nerve damage. In extreme cases, paralysis may even occur.
The nerves that run throughout your body help control muscle movement. If a herniated disk damages these nerves, you may develop muscular weakness, numbness and ongoing pain in the damaged area. Similarly, if doctors use surgery to repair your herniated disk, they may inadvertently damage nerves and cause permanent muscular issues.
While it may be tempting to work through chronic back pain, you simply cannot ignore a possible herniated disk. Ultimately, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits to help you pay for the diagnosis and treatment you need to recover from your work-related injury.