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Musculoskeletal Injuries

Definition of Musculoskeletal Injuries (SKI)

Musculoskeletal Disorders or MSDs are injuries and disorders that affect the human body’s movement or musculoskeletal system (i.e. muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, discs, blood vessels, etc.).

Causes of Musculoskeletal Injury

The causes of musculoskeletal pain are varied. Muscle tissue can be damaged with the wear and tear from daily activities. Trauma to an area (jerking movements, auto accidents, falls, fractures, sprains, dislocations, and direct blows to the muscle) also can cause musculoskeletal pain. Other causes of pain include postural strain, repetitive movements, overuse, and prolonged immobilization. Changes in posture or poor body mechanics may bring about spinal alignment problems and muscle shortening, therefore causing other muscles to be misused and become painful.

Symptoms of Musculoskeletal Injury

Symptoms vary between individual and also depend on the particular structure effected. The three common symptoms are 1. Pain, 2. Fatigue, and 3. Disturbances in Sleeping patterns. The pain may be felt as an ache, or pulled, overworked muscle, symptoms may also manifest as muscle spasm or a burning sensation

Musculoskeletal Injury Diagnosis

Diagnosis begins with a thorough physical and subjective examination by a health professional. Questions are asked in regards to the injury history and the behaviour of the pain. Additional tests may be ordered ie. Ultrasound, Xray, Blood Test or MRI if indicated.

Musculoskeletal Injury Management

MSDs are the single largest category of workplace injuries and are responsible for almost 50% of all worker’s compensation costs in Australia.

Risk Factors

There are two main risk factors that increase the probability of an individual developing a musculoskeletal injury. These risk factors can be broken up into two categories: work-related (ergonomic) risk factors and individual-related risk factors

Work-related (ergonomic) risk factors

Repetition : Muscle effort increases in response to high force requirements, increasing associated fatigue and lead to MSI.
Poor Posture: Awkward postures place excessive force on joints and overload the muscles and tendons around the effected joint. Joints of the body are most efficient when they operate closest to the mid-range motion of the joint.
Individual Poor Work Practices: If a worker adopts poor lifting techniques or adopts a sitting posture that does not optimise muscle or joint function this too can increase the probability of developing a MSI.

Individual-related risk factors

Poor Fitness: Smoking, excessive alcohol intake, poor health habits and obesity predispose an individual to MSI.
Rest: Workers who do not get adequate rest and recovery put themselves at higher risk.
Poor Nutrition, fitness and hydration.

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