Sunday, April 1, 2012

Osteoarthritis of the Neck and Back: Minnesota Work Comp

Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, is a common cause of neck and back pain. It is the result of the mechanical breakdown of the cartilage between the facet joints in the spine, which can cause frictional pain. Development of bone spurs can irritate or entrap spinal nerves.

Osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease of the neck or back can be caused by work activities, or work activities may aggravate or accelerate the condition. An acute work injury can also aggravate a workers’ pre-existing spinal osteoarthritis.

Medical evaluation for neck or back pain typically involves a discussion of symptoms and a detailed medical history, a physical examination, and if osteoarthritis is suspected, a series of x-rays. Other tests, such as MRI’s or CT scans may be performed to confirm the diagnosis or to rule out other conditions. For more information about osteoarthritis visit

Unfortunately, a workers’ compensation claim for a back injury can become complicated if there’s a concurrent or underlying diagnosis of osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease. Workers’ compensation insurance companies typically try to argue that the injured worker’s condition was “pre-existing,” or that if they did sustain an injury, it was simply a “temporary aggravation.” They commonly use these arguments to deny an injured workers’ work comp. claim entirely, or to limit the amount of benefits they have to pay if that worker becomes disabled due to neck or back pain.

For a free, no-obligation evaluation of your Minnesota workers’ compensation case, contact Meuser & Associate at 877-746-5680 or click here to send us an email.


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