Low back pain is work related legally in three different ways.  But first, medically, there are many causes of low back pain. Doctors are not always able to pinpoint the source of a patient’s pain. But your doctor will make every effort to arrive at an appropriate differential diagnosis.  The vast majority of back problems are a result of wear and tear on the parts of the spine over many years. This process is called degeneration. Over time, the normal process of aging can result in degenerative changes in all parts of the spine.  However, physical, strenuous activity such as job duties over time can accelerate the degenerative process.  Apart from degeneration, an acute injury to the spine, such as a fracture or injury to the disc, can make a discrete injury or degeneration happen even faster.  Also, environmental factors such as diet and smoking can damage the spine and there is a genetic role in spinal health as well.  But even with lifestyle choices and family history, if a work injury or job duties accelerate a spinal condition, it is work-related.  The next blog will discuss the medicine of degeneration and spinal pain, now let’s understand legally what low back pain is work related.

In Wisconsin, low back pain can be work related if caused by a single traumatic injury happening at work in the course of a worker’s employment.  In other words, you have to be doing something at work when the back injury occurs, not just standing there.  The second type of low back injury that is work-related also arises out of a single traumatic incident, but it happens to a back that has pre-existing damage or injury.  This is also work related as long as the injury at work precipitates, aggravates and accelerates the condition beyond normal progression.  The third circumstance making low back pain work related is where there is no single traumatic incident or accident or injury at work, but the job duties over time are at least a material contributory causative factor in your low back injury’s onset or progression and need for additional treatment.

Low back pain is something all of us will deal with at one time or another.  But if a work injury or job duties at work contribute to a serious disability, especially a permanent disability, then is in a person’s interest to see if there are worker’s compensation benefits available to help.  McCormick Law Office attorneys get the best results in workers compensation cases where there is a clear traumatic incident at work or physical job duties over time contribute to low back pain being work related.