One of the most common work related injuries I see as a Minnesota attorney are back injuries. For many, these types of injuries are only soft tissue which ultimately resolve over time. However, some back injuries are more serious. The more serious injuries are typically herniations or bulging disks in the spine. These work injuries can be extremely debilitating injuries.
Spine Health published an article discussing the various symptoms of herniated disks. The article goes through the various levels of the spine and outlines the various symptoms associated with a herniation at that level.
L4-5 causes L5 nerve impingement, sciatica pain, foot drop, numbness and pain can also be felt on top of the foot.
L5-S1 causes S1 nerve impingement, sciatica, weakness when standing on the toes, numbness and pain into the sole of the foot and the outside of the foot.
C4-5 causes C5 nerve root impingement, weakness in the deltoid muscle in the upper arm but do not usually feel numbness or tingling sensations, shoulder pain.
C5-6 causes C6 nerve root impingement. This level is one of the most common areas for a cervical herniated disc to occur. It can cause weakness in the biceps, wrist extensor muscles, pain, numbness and tingling into the thumb side of the hand.
C6-7 causes C7 nerve root impingement, weakness in the triceps, in the extensor muscles of the fingers, numbness and tingling along with pain can radiate down the triceps and into the middle finger.
C7-T1 causes C8 nerve root impingement, weakness when gripping with the hand, numbness, pain, and tingling that radiates down the arm and to the little finger side of the hand.
Herniated discs in thoracic region are rarely symptomatic and rarely produce pain, but if they are symptomatic, the pain is usually felt in the upper back and/or chest area.
It is always important to seek the proper medical care and treatment if you are experiencing these types of symptoms. If an injured worker waits too long before seeking treatment the more likely the employer and insurer will deny his or her benefits.