Need for Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders
When workers sit or stand incorrectly, specifically in a posture that is not ergonomically correct for the individual, they can experience musculoskeletal pain and MSDs.
Because musculoskeletal pain and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are a major source of suffering, health care, and utilization of compensation, there is a definite need for prevention (1).
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) a/k/a Cumulative Trauma Disorders (CTDs) a/k/a Repetitive Motion Disorders (RMDs), a/k/a Overuse Syndromes, a/k/a Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs).
According to PEOSH (1997), “These painful and sometimes crippling disorders develop gradually over periods of weeks, months, or years. (2)”
Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) in Office Workers
“They include the following disorders which may be seen in office workers (2):
“Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – a compression of the median nerve in the wrist that may be caused by swelling and irritation of tendons and tendon sheaths.
“Tendinitis – An inflammation (swelling) or irritation of a tendon. It develops when the tendon is repeatedly tensed from overuse or unaccustomed use of the hand, wrist, arm, or shoulder.
“Tenosynovitis – An inflammation (swelling) or irritation of a tendon sheath associated with extreme flexion and extension of the wrist.
“Low Back Disorders – These include pulled or strained muscles, ligaments, tendons, or ruptured disks. They may be caused by cumulative effects of faulty body mechanics, poor posture, and/or improper lifting techniques.
“Synovitis – An inflammation (swelling) or irritation of a synovial lining (joint lining).
“DeQuervain’s Disease – A type of synovitis that involves the base of the thumb.
“Bursitis – An inflammation (swelling) or irritation of the connective tissue surrounding a joint, usually of the shoulder.
“Epicondylitis – Elbow pain associated with extreme rotation of the forearm and bending of the wrist. The condition is also called tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow.
“Thoracic Outlet Syndrome – a compression of nerves and blood vessels between the first rib, clavicle (collar bone), and accompanying muscles as they leave the thorax (chest) and enter the shoulder.”
“Cervical Radiculopathy – A compression of the nerve roots in the neck.
“Ulnar Nerve Entrapment – A compression of the ulnar nerve in the wrist.”
MSDs can be aggravated by:
“These disorders can also be aggravated by medical conditions such as:
- rheumatoid arthritis,
- multiple myeloma,
- thyroid disorders,
- amyloid disease, and
For more information about MSDs, check out “Ergonomics: The Study of Work – OSHA,” published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration which can be found at https://www.osha.gov/Publications/osha3125.pdf.
- Textbook of Pain, 1998, “Prevention of Disability due to Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain,” written by Steven James Litton
- Public Employees Occupational Safety & Health, State of NJ, 1997.