Lumpers, the professionals who load and unload trucks at warehouses, have a unique skill set. After all, because commercial vehicles have limited space, lumpers must use every inch. Packages also come in a variety of shapes, sizes and weights, adding additional challenges to any lumper’s workday.

If you work as a lumper, you do not mind physical exertion. Still, you expect your employer to provide safety gear and training to minimize your chances of suffering a work-related injury. While back pain may be common in your industry, three serious back injuries may change your life forever.

1. Spinal cord damage

Your spinal cord carries nerve signals from your brain through the rest of your body, allowing you to feel sensations and move your limbs. While your spinal column provides effective protection against spinal cord injury, a caught-between or crushing accident may cause you to suffer spinal cord damage. In extreme cases, a spinal cord injury may cause permanent paralysis.

2. Broken vertebrae

Most adults have 24 vertebrae, which are the bones that make up your spine. While normal twisting, bending and reaching are not likely to fracture a vertebra, a collision with a forklift or a fall from a truck may cause you to break one. Often, individuals with broken vertebrae require surgery, where doctors insert hardware to support the spine.

3. Bulging disks

In between each vertebra, you have rubbery disks that cushion your spine. With repetitive twisting and lifting, these disks may slip out of place. They may also rupture. Because bulging disks are often excruciatingly painful, you simply may not be able to work until you go through extensive rehabilitation.

If you sustain one of these serious back injuries when loading or unloading a truck at your warehouse job, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Reporting the injury immediately may boost your chances of receiving the benefits you deserve.