A workplace injury that causes nerve damage can be particularly debilitating. Nerve damage can cause chronic pain and severely limit your ability to work or take care of your day-to-day needs. Because your recovery may be lengthy—if you can return to work at all—you will most likely need to apply for workers’ compensation benefits. However, you could need the assistance of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to obtain the benefits you deserve.
What Are Work-Related Causes of Nerve Damage?
Nerves play a vital role in our bodies, literally linking our brains with our muscles and all parts of our body. It is involved in regulating our breathing, controlling our movements, and much more. That is why a workplace nerve injury can be so devastating and debilitating. There are a number of non-work related causes of nerve damage, such as cancer, diabetes, and autoimmune disorders.
Workers in many different professions are in danger of suffering nerve damage from their jobs. Some of the causes of workplace nerve damage include:
- Falling from a height
- Slip and fall accidents
- Automobile accident
- Industrial accidents
- Crushing injury accidents, which are often caused by heavy machinery
- Broken bones
- Lacerations, such as those caused by use of saws and other cutting machinery
- Repetitive motions
- Gunshots in a workplace violence incident
- Exposure to toxic substances, such as lead, arsenic, and mercury
What Are Common Type of Workplace Nerve Damage?
There are many types of nerve damage disorders that can affect different parts of a worker’s body. Some common injuries that workers can suffer include:
- Partial or complete paralysis of the limbs
- Back nerve injuries, such as herniated disks and sciatica
- Hand and wrist injuries from overuse, like Carpel Tunnel Syndrome and pinched nerves
- Shoulder injuries, which can include rotator cuff injuries
- Bells palsy and other facial nerve damage
- Peripheral nerve damage, which affects the nerves connecting the brain to the spinal cord
What Are Treatment Options for Workplace Nerve Damage?
Symptoms of nerve damage can include pain, numbness, tingling, burning sensation, muscle weakness and atrophy, lightheadedness, constipation, and paralysis. Some workers can suffer different types of nerve damage with multiple symptoms. Treatment for nerve damage can go on for months or longer before a person recovers—at least as much as he can. Nerves can take months or years to heal, and many people do not experience a full recovery.
The type of treatment needed will depend on the type of nerve damage, the severity of the damage, and whether the nerve has been severed. Some possible treatments include:
- Pain medication. If the pain is severe enough, a worker may need pain medications, such as ibuprofen or stronger pain medications.
- Cortisone shots. Cortisone shots can help to reduce inflammation and pain. However, due to the side effects of steroids, these shots can only be given a few times within a 12-month time period.
- Physical therapy. Physical therapy can help to prevent stiffness and strengthen function in the affected areas.
- Occupational therapy. If a worker cannot return to his former job, he may need occupational or vocational training to obtain a job in another profession.
- Electrical stimulator. Although not helpful for all people suffering with nerve damage, electrical stimulation can activate muscles severed from an injured nerve while the nerve is growing.
- Surgery. Surgery could be required if the nerve has been severed or severely damaged to reattach the damaged nerves or to remove damaged sections of nerves and either reattach healthy nerves or perform a nerve graft.
If you suffered nerve damage caused by your job, your claim for workers’ compensation benefits could be larger due to your extensive medical treatments and the lengthy time period that you could be off work. You need an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who is not afraid to fight for the benefits you deserve. To learn how Manfred Ricciardelli can assist you, call our office or start an online chat to schedule your free consultation.