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The winter months are finally behind us and outdoor work is now ramping up for employees at businesses across Iowa.

As you spend more time lifting, moving, and working outside again, you risk the possibility of overworking or straining your body in ways that could ultimately impact your ability to work.

Sustaining a hernia is one such injury that many workers experience when they start performing increased or different types of manual labor after months of working on less strenuous tasks indoors. This article will help you understand what hernias are, how they are treated, and what to do if you sustain a hernia at work.

What is a Hernia?

The American Academy of Family Physicians defines a hernia as “a tear in your muscle or tissue that allows part of your insides to stick out. It can be a bulge of an internal organ or your intestines.” The most common sign of a hernia is a bulge in the affected area that you can visibly see. Other symptoms can include noticeable pressure, heartburn, shooting pain, and vomiting.

The most common cause of a hernia, according to WebMD, is “lifting heavy objects without stabilizing the abdominal muscles.” You can also sustain or worsen a hernia as a result of heavy coughing, sneezing, or intense bowel movements.

The most common type of hernia is what’s known as the inguinal hernia. This type of hernia occurs when intestinal tissue pushes through a particularly weak spot in your abdominal muscles. According to the Mayo Clinic, “men are eight times more likely to develop an inguinal hernia than are women.”

How Are Hernias Treated?

It’s important to seek medical attention and treatment as soon as you sustain a hernia or notice that symptoms are getting worse. Depending on the severity of your hernia, you may require surgery to alleviate the issue. Whether you think you need surgery or not is ultimately not something for you to decide. A visit to a doctor will help you understand what steps need to be taken in order to get you healthy and back to work again. In some cases, your doctor may not recommend surgery but instead will ask you to closely monitor the injured area and refrain from performing any strenuous activity for a specific amount of time.

Sustaining a Hernia at Work

If you sustain a hernia at work, it’s important that you report it to your employer as soon as possible, even before seeking medical treatment. In the state of Iowa, you must report your injury to your employer within 90 days of its occurrence. Failing to do so could affect your ability to collect workers’ compensation benefits. When you report your injury to your employer, they will start the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim and will also tell you where you need to go to seek medical treatment. In Iowa, your employer has the right to decide where you seek treatment. Failing to visit an approved medical facility or healthcare provider could also affect your ability to collect workers’ compensation benefits during the period when you are unable to work.

To better understand the process and steps you should follow if you sustain a hernia at work, read through this blog post.

Contacting an Attorney

If you’ve recently sustained a hernia at work and you have a question or need advice, the best step to take is to reach out to a legal professional. At the Platt Law firm, we offer free consultations for personal injury and workers compensation inquiries, and we will travel to meet with you if you live outside of the Des Moines area. Contact us today to get answers to your questions.

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