Sciatica is a condition that aggravates the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve runs from the lower back, through the hips and buttocks, down each leg and to the feet. Compression of this nerve causes pain that radiates from the lower back down the back of the legs. The pain can be a mild ache, a burning sensation or severe pain. Sciatica is often caused by a herniated disc or other injury to the spine. For example, a protrusion from a herniated disc may put pressure on the nerve.
Workers who sustain sciatica may also experience loss of feeling or weakness in the legs, as well as loss of bowel or bladder function.
What causes work-related sciatica?
According to the Mayo Clinic, sciatica is often linked to:
- Age-related changes in the spine, which can affect older workers
- Stress placed on the spine due to obesity
- Prolonged sitting
- Repetitive twisting, bending and lifting
Work-related sciatica can be the result of:
- A single traumatic workplace accident: This can be a slip and fall, transportation incident, strain from heavy lifting or an accident with equipment or heavy machinery.
- Repetitive stress: This is common in occupations where workers perform the same movements and physical tasks for several hours. Sciatica linked to repetitive stress is common among warehouse workers, landscapers, construction workers and other physical laborers.
Treatments for sciatica
If you notice any of the signs or symptoms of sciatica, it's important that you notify your employer immediately and see a doctor. Your doctor will need to perform a physical examination and evaluation your muscle strength and reflexes. This may include performing movements that can cause pain related to sciatica. In addition, an X-ray, MRI or CT scan may reveal abnormalities in the spine.
Treatment for sciatica usually includes:
- Prescription medication for pain and inflammation and muscle relaxers.
- Physical therapy to correct posture, strengthen muscles and improve flexibility.
- Steroid injections in rare cases in order to reduce pain and inflammation around the sciatic nerve.
- Surgery (in severe cases) to remove bone spurs or correct a herniated disc.
Workers who are recovering from sciatica can also consider acupuncture or chiropractic treatment. Some home remedies include cold packs, hot packs, stretching and over-the-counter pain medications.
Can I get workers' compensation?
If you sustained sciatica at work, the pain can keep you from being able to perform your job. Moreover, this condition can get worse if you don't take time to rest and recover.
It's critical that you speak to an experienced New York workers' compensation attorney who can help you file a claim. The attorneys at Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano LLP Attorneys At Law can tally up the total cost of current and future medical expenses and lost wages and advocate for a fair financial settlement on your behalf.
Our legal team serves clients in NYC and across New York State. We operate on a contingency fee basis, which means that you don't pay unless we win your case. Contact us online to get started.