Finally, causes of neck or cervical work injury may be from neuropathic pain, which is pressure or irritation in the nerves of the cervical spine. Also called neurogenic pain or radiculopathy, the pain is described as burning, electric, tingling, or shooting in nature. McCormick Law Office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin represents ironworkers, masons, welders, boilermakers, nurse assistants, carpenters, warehouse workers, truck drivers, factory workers, machinists and others who get work-related pinched nerves.
The most common causes of cervical radiculopathy are degeneration, disc herniation, and spinal instability. Attorney’s best results come from knowing how medicine and law intersect in an injured worker’s case and making the most of it.
Degeneration: As the spine ages changes occur in the bones and soft tissues. Discs lose water content and begin to collapse, causing the space between the vertebrae to narrow. The added pressure irritates and inflames the facet joints, causing them to become enlarged. The enlarged joints press against the nerves going to the arm as they squeeze through the neural foramina. Degeneration can also cause bone spurs to develop and put pressure on nerves producing symptoms of cervical radiculopathy. Physical job duties accelerate degeneration and are a work-related cause of disability.
Herniated Disc: Heavy, repetitive bending, twisting, and lifting places extra pressure on the shock-absorbing nucleus of the disc. If great enough in a single work-related accident, this increased pressure can injure the annulus (the tough, outer ring of the disc). If the annulus ruptures or tears, the material in the nucleus can squeeze out of the disc, a herniation. Although daily activities may cause the nucleus to bulge and press against the annulus, the body is normally able to withstand these pressures. However, as the annulus ages, it tends to crack and tear. Over time, the annulus becomes weakened, and the disc can more easily herniate through the damaged annulus. If the herniated disc material presses against a nerve root it can cause pain, numbness, and weakness in the area the nerve supplies.
Spinal Instability: Spinal instability means there is extra movement among the bones of the spine. Instability in the cervical spine can develop if the supporting ligaments have been stretched or torn from a severe injury to the head or neck. People with diseases that loosen their connective tissue may also have spinal instability. Spinal instability also includes conditions in which a vertebral body slips over the one just below it. When the vertebral body slips too far forward, the condition is called Spondylolisthesis. Extra movement in the bones of the spine can irritate or put pressure on the nerves of the neck, causing radicular symptoms. Many workers in physically demanding jobs have causes of neck or cervical work injury.