Sciatica causes pain, numbness, and weakness in the lower back, leg, and feet. It is caused by compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back down through the legs.
Work-related injuries can strain the lower back and result in sciatica. In some cases, the injury results from a single traumatic event; in others, it develops gradually over time. Understanding the causes of sciatica can help both parties take steps to prevent and treat the condition and improve the workforce’s overall health and well-being.
What Is a Work-Related Injury?
Work-related injuries are mental or physical injuries sustained while performing job duties or working in hazardous environments. These injuries range from minor cuts and bruises to major fractures, burns, and even death. An injury when undertaking personal tasks that are not related to their employment is not considered a work-related injury. Common workers’ compensation injuries include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Slip and falls
- Cumulative trauma disorders.
These injuries are typically caused by working conditions that do not meet regulatory safety standards. It is important to note that work-related injuries can occur even when employees exercise reasonable caution while performing their duties. Furthermore, if you are injured at work, you are entitled to workers’ compensation.
What Are the 5 Most Common Work-Related Injuries?
Some of the injuries that are considered work-related and can lead to sciatica include:
1. Lumbar Strain or Sprain.
Overexertion or trauma caused by sudden movements, lifting heavy objects, twisting, or bending awkwardly causes these injuries. Workplace falls, or car accidents can also cause spine trauma. Repetitive strain injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or tendinitis, can put extra pressure on the nerves in the lower back, leading to sciatica. Workplace conditions such as prolonged sitting, standing, or poor ergonomics may also contribute to sciatica symptoms.
2. Prolonged Sitting or Standing in the Same Position
Many jobs require employees to sit or stand in the same position for extended periods of time with no breaks. Prolonged sitting can cause muscle tension, leading to spinal misalignment and eventual sciatic nerve compression. Similarly, prolonged standing can cause overuse of specific muscle groups, causing them to weaken and strain. Both circumstances can increase the likelihood of sciatica developing.
3. Repetitive Motions
Repetitive motions at work can, in some cases, lead to the development of sciatica. Typing, operating machinery, hammering, drilling, and using other tools can all result in repetitive strain on the same body area over time. This can cause muscle and joint tightness, increasing the likelihood of a pinched nerve or herniated disc. Proper body mechanics and frequent breaks are critical for reducing the risk of sciatica caused by repetitive motions.
4. Poor Ergonomics
Poor ergonomic practices can aggravate conditions such as a herniated disc, leading to the development of sciatica. Poor ergonomic practices such as poor posture, insufficient foot support, incorrect chair height, and incorrect desk positioning are all examples of poor ergonomic practices that may increase your risk of developing sciatica.
5. Heavy Lifting
Workplace heavy lifting can strain the lower back and increase the likelihood of developing sciatica. Improper techniques, such as bending from the waist instead of squatting and carrying an object that is too heavy, are particularly dangerous and should be avoided. If you must lift something heavy, use proper technique and, if necessary, seek assistance.
Prevention of Work-Related Injuries That Can Cause Sciatica
To prevent a workplace injury that could lead to sciatica, employers must ensure the workplace environment meets all of the necessary safety standards. This includes:
- Providing adequate training to employees so they understand how to use equipment and tools properly. Installing guardrails where appropriate
- Utilizing proper personal protective equipment
- Implementing rest and break policies
- Encouraging employees to take regular stretching breaks throughout the day.
- Employers should also ensure that employees have access to ergonomic furniture, keyboards, and computer mice to minimize the risk of repetitive strain injuries.
- Employers should provide comprehensive medical coverage for employees who sustain work-related injuries, as this will ensure they receive proper medical attention in the event of an injury.
Other ways to reduce the risk of developing sciatica due to a work-related injury include:
- Avoiding sudden movements
- Maintaining good posture
- Using lumbar supports and cushions
- Avoiding sitting in one position for long periods
- Avoiding heavy lifting
- Taking frequent breaks and regularly exercising.
Treatment for Sciatica?
Sciatica treatment options vary depending on the underlying cause. If your sciatica results from a work-related injury, you should consult your doctor or healthcare provider about treatment options. Treatment may include physical therapy, over-the-counter pain medications, prescription medications, steroid injections, or even surgery, depending on the severity of the injury. Physical therapy can help to strengthen and stretch the muscles around the affected area. Over-the-counter pain relievers, on the other hand, may help alleviate pain symptoms.
If conservative treatments do not relieve your sciatica, your doctor may recommend steroid injections or surgery to treat your condition. Your doctor may also prescribe medications such as muscle relaxants or anti-inflammatories to help relieve the pain and inflammation caused by sciatica. Following your doctor’s instructions is critical to ensuring effective recovery from your work-related injury, regardless of the treatment option chosen.
Where Can I Get Medical Treatment for Sciatica?
Workplace injuries frequently necessitate medical attention. It is critical to seek out a qualified practitioner for sciatica treatment. Our Neurodiagnostics Medical P.C. specialists can assist you in managing your occupational injuries and sciatica. We provide comprehensive medical care and personalized services tailored to each individual’s specific needs.
Our team comprises highly trained medical professionals with extensive experience evaluating and managing sciatica cases. We use cutting-edge medical techniques such as:
- Nerve block injections
- Myofascial release techniques
- Dry needling
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
- Traction therapies
- Yoga classes
- Massage therapies
- Acupuncture, and others.
Have You Suffered a Work-Related Injury and Would Like a Neurologic Evaluation?
If you’ve suffered an injury at work and are experiencing sciatica symptoms, it is important to get a thorough neurologic evaluation. Sciatica is a painful and debilitating condition that can have long-term effects on your health. Our experienced team specializes in diagnosing and treating neurological conditions like sciatica associated with workplace accidents.
Our doctors accept workers’ compensation, no-fault, PIP, and most other insurance plans. Call Neurodiagnostics Medical P.C. via (347) 602-9530 for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan for sciatica related to a work-related injury.