When you consider job-related disabilities, you may think of things like amputation injuries, head injuries or spinal cord injuries. These all seem so drastic and life-changing, and it’s easy to think up stories of these events happening in the workplace. We have all heard of people accidentally closing hydraulic presses on their own hands, for instance, leading to the implementation of a two-button system so that the workers need both hands to be clear before they can use the machine.
These types of injuries do happen, to be sure. However, as dramatic as they may be, and as easy as that makes it for them to stick in your memory, they’re not as common as you may think. They’re definitely not the biggest reason for job-related disability.
Per the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), the single most common reason that people cite for a job-related disability is just lower back pain. It is something that they say up to 80% of people in the United States will endure at some point.
If you’ve had lower back pain, you know how debilitating it can be. You also know how easy it is to do something that causes it. Maybe you thought you could lift something on your own when you should have found a co-worker to help. Maybe you just took a bad step coming down the stairs and landed awkwardly. The smallest thing can lead to pain that lasts for days, weeks or months — or much longer. Even when it fades, it may come back at the slightest provocation.
Those who experience pain that will not cease and inhibits their ability to work need to know what steps to take.