Neck Injuries Caused by Working on an Offshore Rig

Offshore rig and platform injuries can be serious and often lead to prolonged pain and time away from work. One of the most common injuries associated with working on a semi-submersible, work boat, supply vessel, jack up rig, drill ship or drill barge involves the neck. Every year, thousands of Americans suffer neck injuries or strains resulting from job-related activities. Neck injuries are especially prevalent within the maritime industry due to the laborious work and lifting of heavy objects.

Neck pain should not be ignored. If you work on an offshore rig or platform and have been experiencing neck pain, it could cause more permanent damage. Problems in the cervical spine, which is the first seven bones in the neck running from the base of the brain and just below the shoulder blades, should be examined and treated, especially if the complications were the result of an accident onboard a rig or other vessel.

There are two types of neck pain, one that is felt down the shoulders and arms and another that involves no pain, only numbness or weakness. Dull pain felt down the shoulders and arms could be caused by a herniated disc, also known as a bulging disc in the spine. This type of pain is felt when a nerve is pinched in the neck. Since the discs in the spine are soft, they can also bulge and become misshapen. Bulging discs are often caused by stress on the spine, overuse of the spine or degeneration.

Symptoms of a Neck Injury

Symptoms of a neck injury vary, but it is important to recognize and understand warning signs. Neck injury symptoms include some the following:

  • Neck soreness
  • Tingling
  • Burning
  • Stiffness
  • Numbness, weakness or pain in the arm
  • Trouble swallowing, writing, talking or walking
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision
  • Fever
  • Night sweats

There are also emergency signs of a more serious injury, which include high fever, light sensitivity, irritability, severe tenderness in the neck, numbness or weakness. If you experience any of these symptoms, you need to obtain medical treatment immediately.

After a doctor assesses and diagnoses your neck injury, a >treatment plan will be recommended. It often takes weeks to fully recover from a neck strain or injury. Your doctor may suggest rest and local heat application. Pain that lasts beyond 2 to 3 weeks may require physical therapy. Typically, a neck injury does not need specific medical intervention.

If you have been injured while working on an offshore rig or platform, you are protected under the Jones Act and can be compensated for your injuries.