In the Appalachian and Illinois Basin mining industry, the term “back breaking” is no exaggeration. Nearly 20% of miners suffer an injury every year, with the most common complaint being “non-specific lower back pain.” Some of this back pain is caused by injuries, some is caused by long-term strain in the toughest labor conditions. Whatever the cause, coal mining communities throughout the United States know well the suffering that comes with lower back pain.
How Lower Back Pain is Affecting Coal Miners in West Virginia, Wyoming, Kentucky, Illinois and Pennsylvania
Living with chronic back pain is shown to affect people both physically and psychologically. Pain prevents some people from living normally, and many injured coal miners can’t return to work. Many file for Social Security Disability, and the drop in income, coupled with increased medical bills and boredom, can lead to depression. As one West Virginia University professor points out, the helplessness and hopelessness commonly associated with clinical depression are known around his parts as “the disability mindset.”
Many coal miners with chronic back pain turn to drugs or alcohol. As of 2014, West Virginia reached one of the highest rates of unemployment in the US, even though nearly 1 out of every 5 residents is employed in the mining industry. In addition, West Virginia has one of the highest opioid prescription rates, and the highest opioid overdose rate. The other coal mining states like Kentucky and Wyoming aren't far behind.
While mental health support is crucial for disabled coal miners, physical pain interventions and long-term relief are the only way to guarantee a full recovery from life-changing lower back pain.
Potential Causes of Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain can have many sources and be difficult both to diagnose and to treat. Two of the most common causes of lower back pain include:
Many people suffer from numbness and stiffness radiating from the sacroiliac joint between the spine and the pelvis. Inflammation in the joint can cause pain to spread from the lower back into the buttocks and legs, and become worse with movement.
Bulging discs occur when one of the soft tissue discs between two vertebrae is moved out of place, which often happens when someone lifts, pushes, or pulls heavy items. Also called a “slipped disc,” “herniated disc,” or “ruptured disc,” the condition may start out as mildly painful but intensify with time and additional back strain. An untreated bulging disc increases the risk of additional back injuries and often results in intense, ongoing lower back pain.
Solutions for Chronic Lower Back Pain
Sacroiliitis can be treated with the injection of powerful anti-inlammatory medications into the joint, which relieve the pain and inflammation. To fully restore pain-free movement, we recommend that a patient also perform a series of physical therapy treatments.
Bulging discs can be treated with our Deuk Laser Disc Repair surgery, the least invasive disc repair surgery available. An endoscopic surgery that does not weaken or damage the spine, Deuk Laser Disc Repair boasts a 95% success rate, a 0% infection rate, and the fastest recovery time available today.
Deuk Spine Accepts Major Insurance Companies Used By Coal Miners
At Deuk Spine Institute, we believe coal miners and anyone who suffers from lower back pain can enjoy a pain-free life.
We accept insurance from the United Mine Workers Association (UMWA) health plan, which covers employees at some of the most prominent working mines in Wyoming, West Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois and Pennsylvania. We are proud to serve union employees of MURRAY Energy, CONSOL Energy, and Patriot Coal and are in-network with BlueCross BlueShield, Cigna, Aetna, UnitedHealthcare and many others.
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Also, we accept Workers' Compensation cases and have a dedicated team to help you get back on your feet and back to work. Click here for more info
If you are a coal miner or any employee in the mining industry, and you suffer from lower back pain, Contact Deuk Spine Institute today to find out your options for permanent lower back pain relief.