Sitting on the Job. Can This Cause Injury and a Workers’ Comp Claim?
When people think of workplace injuries, they often picture deadly accidents and other causes of sudden onset injuries, but these are not the only types of workplace injuries. People can develop workplace injuries and illnesses over an extended period of time, which is often the case for people suffering from sitting-related injuries.
A large percentage of the U.S. population works desk jobs that require workers to sit for an unhealthy amount of time. In this blog, we discuss common sitting-related injuries, how to prevent these injuries, and if you can receive workers’ compensation.
Injuries Caused by Prolonged Sitting
Extended periods of sitting can result in various injuries with differing degrees of severity. One area that is especially vulnerable when sitting for extended periods is your back. Back pain and injuries are incredibly common for seated employees. In fact, an estimated 80% of people experience recurring lower back pain at some point in their lives. Sitting for prolonged periods can greatly contribute to your risk of back discomfort and injuries.
Some common injuries from sitting include:
Back and Spine Strain
Sitting puts more stress on your spinal column and back than standing, and those who slouch while sitting put even more pressure on their back and spine. Prolonged sitting can result in muscle tightness which can make you more susceptible to back and spine injuries.
Those who sit at work often struggle with spinal misalignment, making them highly susceptible to experiencing lower back injuries. The main cause for spinal misalignment while at work is sitting incorrectly, so make sure to sit with good posture.
Coronary Artery Disease
In addition to common back injuries, other parts of your body can feel the effects of prolonged sitting, including your heart. Our bodies are designed to stay active throughout the day, and prolonged sedentary periods, such as sitting for eight hours while at work, greatly increase our risk of developing heart problems.
The 2015 study, “Sedentary Behavior is Associated with Coronary Artery Calcification in the Dallas Heart Study,” found that adults have a much greater risk of developing heart problems when sitting for prolonged periods. Every hour of sitting increases your risk of developing coronary artery disease by 14%, meaning that a person who sits while working has a much greater risk of developing this disease than someone who stays on their feet.
Prolonged sitting can eventually lead to hip injuries. When you sit for extended periods, your glute muscles become weaker and you may develop muscle asymmetries. Weakened glute muscles force your lower back and hips to work harder, which can then result in hip and lower back injuries. Muscle asymmetries may cause your hips to become uneven, which can lead to a variety of issues including hip pain, knee pain, and trouble walking.
Preventing Sitting Injuries
Although sitting while at work can lead to numerous issues, there are steps you can take to decrease your likelihood of experiencing a sitting-related injury. Consider investing in a more ergonomic chair that also provides proper back support. If possible, you can also utilize a height-adjustable standing desk for part of your day to decrease the harmful effects of sitting.
You can also make a conscious effort to take breaks from sitting, but you need to do more than just stand — you need to get your body moving to support blood circulation. Try to take regular walking breaks throughout your day to decrease your likelihood of suffering from a muscle injury or developing coronary artery disease.
Workers’ Compensation for Sitting-Related Injuries
Workers’ compensation is insurance designed to reimburse employees for medical bills and lost wages associated with workplace injuries and illnesses. To qualify, you need to be able to draw a direct link between your injury or illness to your work or work environment. Unfortunately, it’s often challenging to prove that your work resulted in sitting-related injuries.
This is especially the case when it comes to filing a workers’ compensation claim for a heart condition. Your work may have negatively impacted your cardiovascular health, but there are usually different factors that contribute to these conditions, making it challenging to receive workers’ compensation.
One critical part of proving that your injury or illness resulted from your work is by receiving a diagnosis from your treating doctor. Your doctor may indicate that you developed your condition because your work required you to sit all day. When filing a workers’ compensation claim, make sure to keep notes of your conversations with your doctor as well as the entirety of your medical records. This will help you prove that your work caused your condition.
Contact a Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Some workplace injuries and illnesses are difficult to prove, especially when it comes to desk jobs. If you develop a sitting-related injury, you may need to enlist the expertise of a workers’ compensation attorney to help you prove that your condition developed because of your work.
If you suffer from a workplace injury or illness in Louisiana, contact Lunsford, Baskin, & Priebe, PLLC. We’ll help prove your claim, and we’ll work to maximize the amount you’ll receive for your injuries or condition. Call us today at 504-788-2994, or click here for a free case evaluation.