Tag Archive for: Musculoskeletal Disorders

Musculoskeletal Disorders

Musculoskeletal disorders are a leading cause of workplace injury and can lead to pain, injury, and further complications. While musculoskeletal disorders can occur due to activities outside of work, workplace activities can also cause or contribute to musculoskeletal disorders. Here’s a brief overview of workplace musculoskeletal disorders and how you can learn more information:

Understanding Musculoskeletal Disorders

Healthline describes musculoskeletal disorders as conditions that affect the bones, joints, and muscles. Examples of common musculoskeletal disorders include:

  • Tendinitis
  • Bone fractures
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Osteoarthritis 

These disorders, and related pain, can impact any area of the musculoskeletal system, including the feet, hands, knees, wrists, back, legs, shoulders, and neck. There is a higher risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders depending on your age, occupation, lifestyle, family history, and activity level. 

In addition to musculoskeletal disorders, there’s also musculoskeletal pain. This is pain that impacts the bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons. This type of pain can be acute, which means that it can set on suddenly and be severe. The pain can also be chronic, which means that it’s long-lasting, and can be severe or dull. 

Musculoskeletal pain can be caused by a musculoskeletal disorder, such as a bone fracture. It may also be caused by things like poor posture or overuse of a part of the body. 

Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders

The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that musculoskeletal disorders are the leading cause of injury and lead to billions of dollars in costs each year in the form of workers’ compensation claims and lost productivity. This is confirmed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which reports that musculoskeletal disorders are associated with higher employer costs due to lost employee productivity, increased healthcare costs, employee disability, absenteeism, and higher workers’ compensation costs. It is estimated that the economic burden of work-related musculoskeletal disorders is up to $54 billion annually. 

The CDC defines work-related musculoskeletal disorders as conditions in which:

  • The work environment or the performance of the work being performed contributes significantly to the musculoskeletal condition; or/and
  • The musculoskeletal disorder gets worse or extends longer due to the work condition. 

Other Names for Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders

It’s important to know that there are other names for work-related musculoskeletal disorders. These include:

  • Cumulative trauma disorders
  • Soft tissues disorders
  • Repetitive strain injuries
  • Overuse syndrome
  • Repetitive motion injuries

Symptoms of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of a musculoskeletal disorder, it is important that you talk to your doctor as soon as possible. Symptoms can occur in stages and might start with aching and tiredness. Usually, these symptoms disappear when the worker stops performing the activity in question. 

When the condition is more advanced, feelings of fatigue or pain may persist after the work ceases; for example, the worker may experience pain or fatigue when they are home after work and resting during the evening. In the later stages of a work-related musculoskeletal disorder, the feelings of pain and weakness will persist when the worker is at rest, prohibiting their ability to perform even light duties. 

What to Do if You Have a Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorder

If you are experiencing pain or weakness in the tendons, bones, joints, or muscles, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible. If the musculoskeletal disorder is work-related, you may qualify for workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation insurance pays for 100 percent of your medical costs and a portion of your lost wages if you are unable to work due to a work-related injury.

In order to qualify for workers’ compensation, it’s important that you report the injury to your employer as soon as possible and follow all instructions related to reporting and care, including seeing a doctor who’s covered through your workers’ compensation insurance provider. 

How to Learn More About Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders

In addition to your doctor, there are a variety of online resources that can help you to learn more about work-related musculoskeletal disorders, including:

If you suspect that your musculoskeletal disorder is work-related, it can also be helpful to talk to a lawyer about your rights under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OSHA), as well as your rights to workers’ compensation insurance. 

Remember, musculoskeletal disorders are progressive, which means that they can get worse with time and continued use of the affected area. Seeing a doctor at the first signs of weakness or pain is recommended.