Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD)

What are Musculoskeletal Disorders?

Musculoskeletal disorders are a group of conditions that involve the tendons, muscles, nerves, and supporting structures. They include a wide range of disorders that vary in severity from mild symptoms to severe, debilitating conditions. These disorders are also referred to as cumulative trauma disorders, repetitive motion disorders, or repetitive strain injuries.

Examples include:

  • Bursitis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS)
  • DeQuervain’s Disease
  • Low back pain
  • Neck Strain
  • Tendonitis
  • Tenosynovitis
  • Tennis Elbow (Epicondylitis)

What Are Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WMSDs)?

Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders are musculoskeletal disorders that are caused by or made worse by the work environment or working conditions.

Symptoms of WMSDs include:

  • Pain
  • Redness or change in skin coloring
  • Weakness
  • Numbness
  • Tingling or aching
  • Cramping
  • Reduced range of motion in the joints
  • Swelling or stiffness in the joints

Any of these symptoms can occur in the upper and lower back, shoulders, elbows, wrists, or fingers. They can result in lost productivity, time off from work, and temporary or permanent disability. However, these problems can be prevented by using ergonomic solutions to create a healthier work environment.

How can you protect yourself?

  • Take rest breaks from repetitive or forceful tasks
  • Change positions frequently
  • Use proper body mechanics and positioning
  • Know how to make adjustments to your work station to make it suit you
  • Use tools and equipment properly
  • Report any symptoms immediately to prevent further injury