Cumulative Stress Spinal Cord Injuries

Cumulative stress spinal cord injuries have befallen many railroad workers. The accumulated, or cumulative, stress that full-time work on board a train can provide has caused grave physical damage (including spinal cord injuries) to railroad employees, and FELA (the Federal Employers Liability Act) has provisions to protect workers who have incurred cumulative injuries.

What Are Some Cumulative Stress Spinal Cord Injuries?

Although a few hours or a day spent working on a moving train — whether on a local, regional, or transcontinental railroad — may not seem inherently dangerous to the spine, the cumulative stress of days, months or years of the following can cause lasting spinal injuries:

  • vibration (whether for isolated body parts such as the hands, or whole-body vibration)
  • repetitive stress (making the same movements over and over)
  • awkward or difficult body positions (some railroad work requires it)

The whole-body vibration that many railroad workers deal with on a daily basis is a particularly widespread cause of cumulative stress spinal cord injuries. A moving train has constant, chronic vibration that can be transferred through a seat or a platform, affecting both seated and standing workers. The body's joints (feet and ankles, knees, hips, elbows, wrists), the back, neck and shoulders, and the spinal cord are particularly vulnerable to chronic (long-term) vibration injuries.

And if a railroad worker is subjected to cumulative trauma injuries from repetitive stress on the job, and/or to work in a difficult body position, the likelihood of a cumulative stress spinal cord injury is compounded.

Symptoms of Cumulative Stress Spinal Cord Injuries

A railroad worker who is experiencing one or more of the following symptoms of cumulative stress spinal cord injuries should seek medical care:

  • weakness of limbs or the entire body
  • pain that intensifies with increased activity
  • neck stiffness
  • impaired hand dexterity and/or range of motion
  • unexplained headaches
  • dizziness, nausea
  • burning or tingling sensations in the joints
  • body aches

Learn More about Spinal Cord Injuries

Many individuals suffering from an injury or medical condition are not sure of their legal options. A free consultation with a FELA attorney will help you decide your next steps. Contact our FELA attorneys to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about your rights.