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What is a herniated disc?

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A person’s backbone is made up of several smaller bones called vertebrae, all of which surround the spinal cord, which is arguably the most important nerve in the body. To prevent the vertebrae from rubbing against each other, there are softer tissues between the vertebrae called discs. These discs work a lot like the brake pads on one’s car in that they prevent the wear and tear of two hard substances grating against each other. A herniated disc is a common type of back injury that probably affects many people in the Charlotte area.

A disc is considered herniated when the softer part of the disc comes out of the slightly tougher encasing around it. This leaking tissue can irritate the sensitive nerves around the spine, which causes pain. The symptoms of a herniated disc can be severe. The severity depends on how bad the condition of the disc is and where the defective disc is located along the spine. In the worst cases, pain, along with a weak or numb sensation, can keep a worker off the job. Corrective surgery may be required.

Herniated discs happen for a number of reasons, and many people may just be more prone to them than others. However, significant strain on the back, either in one episode or over a period of time, can cause a herniated disc.

In this respect, many North Carolina workers have jobs that require lifting and other back movements. Despite taking safety precautions and being careful, herniated discs and other, related back injuries can happen to anyone. If an employee in the Charlotte area does suffer a work-related injury to the back, workers’ compensation benefits may be available to them. A worker can use these benefits to pay for medical expenses and also cover a portion of his or her lost wages.