musculoskeletal disorder (msd) prevention

What is a Musculoskeletal Condition?

Musculoskeletal disorders, commonly known as MSDs, are conditions that affect muscles, bones, and joints. Typically over time, they can be to affect everyday activities. Some of the common conditions are tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, bone fractures. MSD’s are fairly common among all age groups but the risk of developing MSDs increases as the personages. The severity of MSDs varies from person to person with an extreme of pain and discomfort that inhibits a person from performing day to day activities and leading a normal life. Early diagnosis and treatment can help to ease the symptoms and improve the long-term stance.

Common symptoms of MSDs

Recurrent pain swelled stiff joints and dull aches are the common symptoms. MSDs can affect any area of the musculoskeletal system including shoulders, neck, back, wrists, hips, legs, feet and knees. In severe cases of MSDs, patients can develop limited motion and have trouble completing routine activities.

As MSDs are on the rise, the major influencing factors include ergonomics and individual risk factors can involve age, occupation, activity level, lifestyle, and family history. Some of the activities may cause wear and tear on a musculoskeletal system that can lead to MSDs. Frequent sports training, for example, can wear down certain parts of the body.

Some individual factors include poor work practices, health and rest habits also a recovery of a body from fatigue, poor nutrition, fitness, and hydration are further examples that can result in MSDs. Continuous exposure to these individual risk factors can put individuals at a higher risk level of experiencing MSDs.

Some of the ergonomics factors that aggregate the MSDs are repetitive work, forceful exertions and lifting heavy weights however the most common culprit is occupations that involve PCs (which is pretty much everything nowadays!). Using a PC is not a bad thing, however, sitting long hours in front of computers with poor postures means putting the body in fatigue mode beyond its capability of recovery, leading to a musculoskeletal imbalance and hence an MSD.

A treatment plan for MSDs

Diagnosis is made through physical examination and signs of pain, redness, swelling, muscle reflexes and muscle weakness can be checked. X-Ray or MRI scans may also be-be prescribed for the diagnosis. Sometimes a blood test can also be prescribed to check rheumatoid arthritis. For occasional pain, moderate exercise and painkillers are prescribed but for more severe symptoms, physical therapy and occupational therapy are prescribed which helps to reduce pain and discomfort, maintain muscle strength and motion so as to live day to day life with ease.

It is well said that prevention is better than cure and the best time to take action is now if you are suffering. The risk of developing MSDs increases with age as with the growing age, bones, joints, and muscle deteriorates but the process starts at a younger age than you may think. MSDs are not inevitable, but one can lower the risk of developing MSDs by taking care of body during adulthood. Developing healthy habits, regularly strengthening exercises and stretching can help keep bones, joints, and muscles strong. Adopting good postures while standing and sitting will also help like maintaining a tall posture so as to prevent back pain, picking up heavy objects by completely sitting down, keeping repetitive motions to a minimum. It is also important to complete everyday activities in safe ways. Regular consultations and getting advice from Physiotherapists on MSDs is always a  helpful way to prevent MSDs at a later stage in life.


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