Have You Been Placed on Sedentary Duty in DC After a Serious Back Injury?

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A Serious Back Injury Can Mean Sedentary Work

After a back injury on the job, you may not be able to return to your regular job.  If your doctor gives you sedentary (basically sitting or desk work) restrictions, here is some great advice on how to help your back.

There has been an evolution for the way chairs have been constructed. Initially chairs were built with wood and strong frames and eventually upholstery came into the picture. Now we have lots and lots of different types of chairs; we have modular furniture, big and plush chairs, wicker seating - you name it! And what we often don't think about is how these seating arrangements affect our spine.

I wanted to write about it because so many of our clients have issues with their spines.

We have had people with extremely heavy-duty jobs injure their backs, and most of the time, especially after back surgery, they can't return to work in their former capacity. When that happens, many employers have something called light duty, which could be a desk job. Imagine having to sit in one of those horrible office chairs when you have recently had a cervical or lumbar fusion!

Lots of people buy orthopedic chairs and that is probably the best idea for someone with back issues who will now have to sit for hours at a time. But, if that's not an option for you here are some great tips for protecting your spine.

1. Sit on the edge of your chair.

According to Ms. Couch (the person interviewed in the article and yes that is her real last name) most chairs are either too deep (go back too far) or too soft (force slouching). Sitting on the edge of the chair, where the frame is most supportive, will help to keep your spine straight (you want to avoid the "C" curve). 

2. Build a perch.

You can roll up anything that will help you (yoga mat, towel, shoe, pillow, whatever) and place it directly under your sitz bones (sitting bones) to help shore up that support on the back end. The prop will keep your hips in place.

3. Build out the back.

You can't sit away from the backrest because you will risk whiplash if you do ever get into an accident. So, the solution is to put something between you and the backrest that will close the space and keep your spine straight. A firm blanket, pillow, or sweater to the lower back will do the trick.

Have you recently been placed on light duty or sedentary duty and now you have questions?

Don't hesitate to give us a call. The last thing you want to do is go into a light-duty work arrangement and not be aware of your rights. I would guess that 80% (at least) of the mistakes that are made in workers' comp are because someone didn't know their rights? Call us today at 202-393-3320. You will speak with a real person who wants to hear your story.

Frank R. Kearney, Attorney-at-Law
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Experienced DC Workers' Comp, Long Term Disability & Accident Lawyer