Anyone who has ever suffered a back injury knows how painful and incapacitating it can be. If the injury is serious enough, it can also limit your ability to do your job. It may even get to the point where you must stop working and go on Social Security Disability benefits, at least for a while.

One common type of back injury is called a slipped disk. As readers know, the spinal column that protects the spinal cord is made up of bones called vertebrae. In between the vertebrae are cushioning disks made of softer material that absorb shocks from our moving around, to protect the bones from harm.

Unfortunately, the softer inner portion of the disk can sometimes protrude through the tough exterior. Thus, the disk “slips” or herniates, pressing against a nerve in the spine. This can happen when the outside of the disk becomes weak or torn, due to aging or lifting something that was too heavy. Symptoms of a slipped disk can include:

  • Pain and numbness, usually on one side of the body
  • Muscle weakness
  • Tingling
  • Aching
  • Burning

The pain may extend to a limb. It might get worse at night, or after standing or sitting for too long.

A slipped disk can happen to people when they are relatively young, such as in their mid-30s to mid-40s. People with young children could find themselves unable to keep their job, if their slipped disk makes their work duties impossible. Fortunately, disabled workers have options, such as applying for SSD benefits.