A work-related cervical or neck injury is often overlooked as a work-related condition. Neck pain typically doesn’t start from a single injury, but rather develops over time from the stress and strain of daily activities, often job duties. Eventually, the parts of the cervical spine degenerate and become a source of neck pain.
Knowing how your neck normally works and why you feel pain are important in helping understand if the problem is subject to workers compensation benefits. Workers are often less likely to file a workers compensation claim until they have the information they need to make the best decisions about their condition.
This blog series will give you a general overview of the work-related cervical or neck injury. It should help you understand what parts make up the spine and neck, what causes neck pain, what tests your doctor may run, and how a work-related neck injury may be treated.
The human spine is made up of 24 spinal bones, called vertebrae. Vertebrae are stacked on top of one another to form the spinal column. The spinal column is the body’s main upright support.
The cervical spine is formed by the first seven vertebrae. Doctors often refer to these vertebrae as C1 to C7. The cervical spine starts where the top vertebra (C1) connects to the bottom edge of the skull. The cervical spine curves slightly inward and ends where C7 joins the top of the thoracic spine. This is where the chest begins.
Each vertebra is formed by a round block of bone, called a vertebral body. A bony ring attaches to the back of the vertebral body. When the vertebrae are stacked on top of each other, the rings form a hollow tube. This bony tube surrounds the spinal cord as it passes through the spine. Just as the skull protects the brain, the bones of the spinal column protect the spinal cord.
As the spinal cord travels from the brain down through the spine, it sends out nerve branches between each vertebrae called nerve roots. These nerve roots join together to form the nerves that travel throughout the body and form the body’s electrical system. The nerve roots that come out of the cervical spine form the nerves that go to the arms and hands. The thoracic spine nerves go to the abdomen and chest. The nerves coming out of the lumbar (lower) spine go to the organs of the pelvis, the legs, and the feet.
McCormick Law Office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin has extensive experience representing workers with a work-related cervical or neck injury. The key to success is when the job duties causing the neck pain line up with the doctor’s expert opinions.