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What Minnesota workers can expect after a herniated lumbar disc

Herniated lumbar discs are a common source of injury that may make Minnesota workers eligible for workers' compensation. A herniated disc occurs when the hard outer shell of a spinal disc is cracked. Discs are composed of the strong outer layer as well as a watery interior that provides cushion to individual vertebrae in the spine. When the outer layer of the disc is cracked, the fluid may seep out, causing a lack of cushioning for the spine.

Herniated discs are most common in the lower lumbar region of the spine, specifically the last two discs below the waist. This injury can make common tasks like bending over and sitting for long periods painful. A herniated disc can also exert pressure on the spinal nerves, resulting in a painful condition known as sciatica.

Sciatica is a condition that causes leg pain, weakness, numbness and tingling. Although back pain is also associated with a herniated disc, this symptom is present in many other conditions and is not as specific to a herniated lumbar disc as sciatica. It is estimated that sciatica affects 1 to 2 percent of the population and most often affects those between the ages of 30 to 50.

There are various treatments for a herniated lumbar disc, and some may even require surgery. A lawyer may help workers who were injured on the job receive the time off and financial assistance they need to seek treatment for a herniated disc and related medical issues. A workers' compensation settlement may provide compensation for medical expenses as well as lost wages and rehabilitation costs.

Source: North American Spine Sociaty, "Herniated Lumbar Disc ", October 28, 2014

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