Work-Related Cervical or Neck Injury causing Degenerative Disc Disease can be from the repetitive stresses and strains of physical job duties over time. The normal aging process within the intervertebral discs weakens the connective tissues that make up a disc. Over time, the nucleus or jelly doughnut in the center of the disc dries out and loses some of its ability to absorb shock. The annulus or doughy outside of the doughnut also weakens and develops small cracks and tears which the jelly or nucleus can leak through.
As the disc continues to degenerate, the space between the vertebrae becomes smaller. This compresses the facet joints along the back of the spinal column. As these joints are forced together, extra pressure builds on the articular cartilage on the surface of the facet joints. This extra pressure can damage the facet joints. Over time, this may lead to arthritis in the facet joints.
These degenerative changes in the disc, facet joints, and ligaments cause the spinal segment to become loose and unstable. The extra movement causes even more wear and tear on the spine. As a result, more and larger tears occur in the annulus.
The nucleus may push through the weakened and torn annulus and into the spinal canal. This is called a herniated or ruptured disc. The disc material that squeezes out can press against the spinal nerves. The disc also emits enzymes and chemicals that produce inflammation. The combination of pressure on the nerves and inflammation caused by the chemicals released from the disc cause pain.
As the degeneration continues, bone spurs develop around the facet joints and around the disc. No one knows exactly why these bone spurs develop. Most doctors think that bone spurs are the body’s attempt to stop the extra motion between the spinal segment. These bone spurs can cause problems by pressing on the nerves of the spine where they pass through the neural foramina. This pressure around the irritated nerve roots can cause pain, numbness, and weakness in the neck, arms, and hands.
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin McCormick Law Office provides legal representation to workers with Work-Related Cervical or Neck Injury. Our clients are men and women with neck injuries from the construction trades including plumbers, carpenters, iron workers, laborers, electricians, drywallers, and painters. But we also see workers with neck or cervical injuries from many other fields such as nurses and CNAs. Workers compensation neck injuries are not always obvious or easy to prove, but they are certainly worth a look see or a free consultation.