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Protect your neck at work and play

A neck injury that occurs in the blink of an eye can leave you struggling to regain function for a long time. You might need rehabilitation for months, and even then it might change your life forever. Your neck can be vulnerable and prone to injury from a myriad of different things in the workplace.

Since neck injuries can result from almost any type of work you do, you should always try to take precautions to prevent them. Threats that can result in these injuries can include repetitive activities at work or lifting heavy objects. However, sometimes a random accident leads to a neck injury. Circumstances may include car accidents -- particularly rear-end crashes -- falls, sports injuries and even diving into waters of unknown depth. In some cases, the negligence of other parties can cause such accidents.

Injuries that can cause various levels of neck pain

Neck injuries can vary in severity, and could cause headaches, neck and shoulder pain, and tingling or numbness in your arms and legs -- or in the worst cases, paralysis. One of the following injuries might be the cause of your pain:

  • Whiplash -- The impact of a collision can cause violent head movement, and damage to soft tissues like ligaments, muscles and nerves in the neck. It typically causes stiffness and pain in the neck, along with dizziness, headache, numbness, weakness and tingling in your neck, arms and legs.
  • Repetitive strain -- You may find this type of injury is work related. If you repeat specific actions all day long, work in an awkward body position or sit in a chair with no support for your back, muscle strain can develop.
  • Strains and sprains -- These are more often sports related. However, sprained ligaments and torn or strained muscles can also result from a slip-and-fall accident.
  • Pinched nerve -- This situation can lead to chronic pain accompanied by sensations of sharp, shooting pains in the arms and neck.
  • Disk injury -- The disks between the vertebrae can become irritated, slip or move. This can lead to pain traveling from your neck to your legs, or in more severe cases a bulging or herniated disk may result.
  • Fractured vertebrae -- The vertebrae in the spinal column encases and protects the spinal cord. So, if you fracture one or more vertebrae, it will most likely compromise your spinal cord.
  • Spinal cord damage -- With vertebral fractures, there are chances of damage to the nerve elements of the spinal cord, which could lead to total or partial paralysis.

If your neck injury and the resulting pain and suffering along with financial challenges followed the negligence of another party or occurred as the result of a work-related activity, you have the right to pursue financial relief. Depending on the circumstances, you may seek recovery of damages through the Illinois workers' compensation program or by filing a personal injury lawsuit in a civil court.

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