Study finds antibiotics may help workers with lower back injuries

Many workers in California are at risk of suffering a back injury while on the job, whether their responsibilities include heavy, repetitive lifting or long hours sitting in front of a computer. Back injuries are one of the most common injuries that afflict employees. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 182,000 workers sustained a back injury while working in private industry in 2011.

Unfortunately, back injuries often have long-lasting effects, causing pain and discomfort for years following the injury itself. Recently, researchers from Denmark identified a treatment that may alleviate the pain for around 40 percent of individuals who have suffered a lower back injury.

The researchers determined that antibiotics can help reduce back pain for individuals who have suffered a herniated disc. The study revealed that bacteria accumulate in herniated discs when the injury occurs - affecting between 7 to 53 percent of herniated disc patients. One year after those patients had taken antibiotics for 100 days, they were found to have less back pain than the individuals who had taken a placebo.

While this research does not represent a cure for those who have suffered a herniated disc, it may provide some relief for those who are suffering from chronic lower back pain.

Prevent a dangerous back injury while on the job

Individuals in certain professions are more at risk of sustaining a back injury while at work. Most obviously, workers who must frequently lift heavy objects are susceptible to sustaining a back injury.

It is important to note that even individuals in relatively sedentary positions can also be the victim of a back injury. When someone must sit or repeat a movement throughout the day, he or she is at risk of sustaining a back injury. In such situations, particularly for office workers, employers should offer ergonomic assessments to help prevent dangerous injuries.

Employers should also offer training to employees before they perform job duties that could potentially lead to a back injury. When a particular task could lead to a repetitive stress injury, employers can also consider rotating employees through different responsibilities to avoid injury. Workers should also stop what they are doing if they feel any changes in their back, including pain, tingling, muscle weakness or tightness.

When a worker sustains a back injury while on the job, he or she may be entitled to workers' compensation to cover medical expenses and lost wages. In such situations, an individual would be wise to consult with a knowledgeable workers' compensation attorney to protect his or her rights.