Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs)
Musculoskeletal disorders are painful injuries that are the result of muscle, tendon or joint overuse. Commonly affected sites are the low back, neck, fingers, wrists, elbows, and shoulders. MSDs are known by many other names including Repetitive Strain injuries and Cumulative Trauma Disorders.
Types of MSDs, Causes and Treatments
MSDs are sometimes mislabeled: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is one type of MSD but there are many others. A misdiagnosis like this will reduce your chance of receiving effective treatment. You can learn more about the different kinds of MSDs, their causes and treatments at the links below.
- Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety: Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders
- MOL Pains and Strains in the Workplace Tool (Ontario)
- MedlinePlus (USA)
- More information specific to Low Back Pain (YorkU)
Importance of Early Reporting
Many MSD cases are reported very late when joint use is already severely restricted. The key to preventing disability is early intervention. You must report the first sign of symptoms, before the injury progresses to the point of disability when it is very difficult to manage.
Early Stage Symptoms:
- discomfort or increased awareness of an affected joint
Later Stage Symptoms (any or all of the following):
- ache, pain
- joint stiffness, muscle tightness
- loss of strength, 'clumsiness'
- redness or swelling of affected area
- tingling, 'pins and needles', numbness
Getting Proper Healthcare
Other Health Conditions That May Impact Your Symptoms
As with all injuries and illnesses, prevention is the best treatment.
To learn more about preventing MSDs, refer to more ergonomics tips.