The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that more than 600,000 workers suffer from back disorders annually. Missouri workers' compensation lawyers are very aware that acute back injuries are one of the main contributing factors that lead to the inability to work and to permanent disability in Missouri workers. As the population ages so does the frequency of back injuries, as more workers are working into their later years and the baby boomers are aging.
The sobering price tag of these back problems is estimated at $50 billion each year. The expense from back injuries is not just in medical bills but also in the loss of income, the loss of productivity, and in pain and suffering. Back injuries also add to the financial burden on the Nation's workers' compensation system.
Along with trauma from an unexpected accident, there are other causes of back problems and disabilities arising from back injuries. These ailments are caused by repetitive motion activities caused by over-use of certain muscles throughout the working day and are called "microtraumas." These types of injuries have always been common in workers doing manual labor including movements such as bending, lifting or twisting motions. However today these injuries are becoming more and more prevalent even in those who spend their working day sitting in a chair. Without proper ergonomics like a poor workstation design or with stressful work activities or ongoing exposure to heavy vibrations microtraumas can occur in anyone.
What Does Microtrauma Mean for Missouri Workers?
Microtrauma refers to tiny tears caused by the weakening of muscles, vertebrae, discs and ligaments in the back and neck. This happens slowly, over time, and results from any kind of strenuous repetitive motions or activities. While sometimes it is a traumatic event such as lifting too much weight that causes an acute back injury, more often than not it is years of microtrauma as the main culprit.