What Are the Main Causes of Back Injury Disabilities?

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Question

I applied for disability due to a herniated disc caused by work -- I also have an ongoing workers' comp claim. Does Social Security mainly pay out claims to those who've injured their back at home or at work?

Answer

The back is vulnerable to injury due to the amount of stress that is often brought to bear on this flexible area of the body. Generally, a back injury is the immediate or cumulative result of lifting, carrying, handling, holding, or lowering of objects of various weights and sizes. Often, these injuries happen at work, either suddenly or after years of heavy labor.

A back injury can also be the result of non-vocational physical activity. Back strains (where you throw out your back) are often caused by sports, yard work, and vigorous activities by weekend warriors who are otherwise sedentary. Spinal cord injuries are usually caused by vehicle accidents and falls.

In other cases, a back injury may occur as the result of a natural aging or disease process such as degenerative disc disease, arthritis, or scoliosis.

According to information provided by the American Bureau of Labor Statistics, over one million individuals will suffer from a back inury each year in the United States alone. Additionally, one fifth of all workplace injuries deal with a back injury (and one fourth of all worker’s compensation claims are related to a back injury).

Social Security sees disability applications with all types of back injuries. Whether the injury happened at work or at play has no bearing on a Social Security disability decision. (But if you win a workers' comp settlement and a Social Security disability award, your disability payments may be "offset.")

For more information on disability caused by back injuries, see our section on Disability Benefits for Back Injuries.

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