Wisconsin workers compensation thoracic herniated disc injuries are mainly caused by wear and tear in the disc. This wear and tear is known as degeneration. As a disc’s annulus ages, it tends to crack and tear. These injuries are repaired with scar tissue. Over time the annulus weakens, and the nucleus like the center in a jelly donut may squeeze (herniate) through the damaged annulus. Spine degeneration is common in T11 and T12. T12 is where the thoracic and lumbar spine meet. This link is subject to forces from daily activity, such as bending and twisting, which lead to degeneration. Not surprisingly, most thoracic disc herniations occur in this area.
Less commonly, a thoracic disc may herniate suddenly (an acute injury). A thoracic disc may herniate during a car accident or a fall. A thoracic disc may also herniate as a result of a sudden and forceful twist of the mid-back.
Diseases of the thoracic spine may predispose to thoracic herniated disc. Workers with pre-existing conditions can still get workers compensation benefits if the work accident or job duties over time contributed to the current disability.
The spinal cord may be injured when a thoracic disc herniates. The spinal canal of the thoracic spine is narrow, so the spinal cord is immediately in danger from anything that takes up space inside the canal. Most disc herniations in the thoracic spine squeeze straight back, rather than deflecting off to either side. As a result, the disc material is often pushed directly toward the spinal cord. A herniated disc can interfere with the blood supply to the spinal cord leading to serious complications.
Symptoms of thoracic disc herniation vary widely. Symptoms depend on where and how big the disc herniation is, where it is pressing, and whether the spinal cord has been damaged.
Pain is usually the first symptom. The pain may be centered over the injured disc but may spread to one or both sides of the mid-back. Also, patients commonly feel a band of pain that goes around the front of the chest. Patients may eventually report sensations of pins, needles, and numbness. Others say their leg or arm muscles feel weak. Disc material that presses against the spinal cord can also cause changes in bowel and bladder function. To get workers comp to cover these later problems or any injury, a doctor has to opine that the condition is work-related. Disc herniations can affect areas away from the spine, with symptoms spreading into the arms, chest or legs.
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin [nap_names id=”FIRM-NAME-1″] attorneys provide legal representation to injured workers with thoracic disc herniation caused by work accidents or job duties over time.