Sciatica is a painful condition that often first comes to light after suffering an injury at work. You can often develop sciatica after carrying out lifting duties at work, and over time this can lead to the development of the condition. If this has happened to you, you may be wondering if you can claim work sciatica compensation – you can get in touch with Accident Advice Helpline to find out.
What is sciatica?
Sciatica occurs when a nerve in the lower back is compressed. This leads to pain on whichever side of the body the nerve is on, which can radiate from the back to the leg and hip. The sciatic nerve is the body’s longest nerve, and symptoms of sciatica can include:
- Pain in the legs and buttocks (and the lower back)
- Tingling from the back down the leg into the feet and toes
- Weakness in your calf muscles or the muscles responsible for moving your foot and ankle
You should see your GP for a diagnosis if your pain gets worse, if it is severe or if symptoms persist. A doctor’s report may also help with a work sciatica compensation claim. They will normally ask you to carry out the ‘positive straight leg raise test’ to diagnose sciatica. This involves lying flat on your back and raising one straight leg at a time. If this causes pain, it suggests sciatica. Back pain is one of the most common reasons to visit your GP. In fact, figures show that eight out of 10 people have some type of backache.
What causes sciatica?
So what causes sciatica? Well, it’s usually most commonly caused by a slipped disc pressed on the sciatic nerve. As we get older, our discs become less flexible, so if you work in a physical job where you are carrying out heavy lifting or repetitive pushing and pulling movements, you could injure your back and develop sciatica. The two occupations putting workers at the highest risk of developing sciatica are construction workers and nursing home workers/nurses – both jobs require a high degree of heavy lifting, pushing and pulling. You may be able to claim work sciatica compensation if your job has put you at risk and you have become injured as a result.
Treatment for sciatica
Most cases of sciatica pass in around six weeks without the need for medical attention, but you can practice self-care for sciatica at home. This involves using hot or cold packs to relieve pain, taking anti-inflammatory painkillers such as ibuprofen and staying active, which can actually help to ease pain. Up to 30% of patients diagnosed with sciatica will suffer from pain for 12 months or more and if your symptoms persist then you may be referred for physiotherapy or manual therapy with an osteopath or chiropractor, given stronger painkillers or even offered injections into your spine of painkilling, anti-inflammatory medication, which can really help to relieve symptoms.
Is your sciatica work-related?
In 2012, over 50% of adults in the US suffered from a musculoskeletal pain disorder (including sciatica). Many of these will be cases of work-related sciatica, and if you’re considering making a claim for compensation, it is important to ask yourself if your sciatica developed as a direct result of your job. If so then you could claim for work sciatica compensation. You’ll need to prove that your condition was actually caused by the work that you do. For example, perhaps your employer failed to carry out risk assessments for specific tasks, and as a result you have been injured.
Or maybe they have not put into place steps to reduce risks to staff, despite carrying out a risk assessment to identify preventative measures. In both these cases you could have a viable claim for work sciatica compensation. You may also be able to claim if your employer has been negligent in other ways – for example if you have been left without the use of proper equipment which allows you to carry out heavy lifting and you have suffered sciatica as a result, you could make a claim for compensation, provided it has been three years or less since your accident.
Whilst your employer ultimately takes responsibility for your safety at work and should take steps to ensure that you are not injured whilst you’re carrying out your job, you can also reduce the risk of repeat episodes of sciatica by paying attention to things like your posture and lifting techniques. Here are a few tips that will help you to reduce your risk of developing work-related sciatica:
- Exercise regularly, as staying active helps to keep discs flexible, reducing sciatica risk
- Stretch before and after exercise
- Watch your posture at work, particularly if you are sitting for long periods of time
- Carry out proper lifting techniques – make sure that your employer provides you with manual handling training and if necessary, equipment (such as hoists for care workers) to help you lift heavy people or objects
Claiming work sciatica compensation with Accident Advice Helpline
If you have suffered sciatica as a result of your job, then let Accident Advice Helpline help you make a claim for work sciatica compensation. There’s no need to feel scared at the idea of taking legal action against your employer. They will have liability insurance in place in the event that something like this happens, which means that you could be compensated for your pain, suffering and loss of earnings. We can tell you if you have a viable claim, gather evidence in support of your claim and help you to get the compensation you are entitled to, and our lawyers can do all of this on a 100% no-win, no-fee basis.
We’ve been helping people claim compensation for sciatica since 2000, and you could be next in line to receive a personal injury settlement. Why not call us today on 0800 689 0500, or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile – we’d love to speak to you about your accident and see how we can help you.
Date Published: November 7, 2015
Author: Allison Whitehead