When soldiers return from military service, some experience physical illnesses and conditions that can’t be categorized or explained easily. They may experience imprecise and unspecified symptoms such as fatigue and pain that could be caused by any number of factors. Vibration exposure is an occupational hazard that affects many veterans and can cause serious health issues. Exposure to severe vibration levels can cause significant damage to the body. If you’re a veteran experiencing symptoms you believe are related to vibration exposure, you may be eligible for disability benefits from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
When Vibration Causes Permanent Damage to Joints
Veterans suffer from unique health issues, and some are very specific to their military service. Vibration exposure is an under-reported condition that affects not only veterans but approximately eight million U.S. workers. Those exposed to vibration because of the work they do or the machinery they handle usually suffer from one of two types of vibration: whole-body vibration (WBV) or hand-arm vibration (HAV). Here is a brief overview of each:
- Whole-body vibration (WBV). Those who work continuously with poorly-maintained equipment or lie, stand, or sit on vibrating surfaces can suffer from lower back pain, bone damage, digestive and stomach problems, lower back pain, vision problems, and respiratory changes. Prolonged exposure to WBV creates a greater risk of muscular disorders.
- Hand-arm vibration. Those who continuously use hand held-tools can suffer from “white finger” that causes discoloration and pain in the fingers (also known as "dead finger"), carpel tunnel syndrome, damage to nerves, and damage to muscles and joints.
It’s possible for vibration exposure to cause permanent damage, and this depends on many factors, including:
- The length of time the equipment has been used
- The level of vibration
- If the equipment is awkward to use
- If the equipment must be gripped tightly for maximum results
- If it’s often wet or cold when the equipment is used
If you’re a veteran with health problems that are associated with prolonged vibration exposure, and your symptoms have become debilitating, you may qualify for VA disability benefits. If you can prove that your age and injuries prevent you from working any job, the VA may approve your claim.
The symptoms of vibration exposure are serious and can seriously impact your ability to live life and do your job. If you believe you need VA Disability benefits, or if you have been denied disability benefits, contact us at 402-933-5405, and let us review your case.