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WORK-RELATED MUSCULOSKELETAL DISORDERS (WMSDs)
... are a group of painful disorders of muscles, tendons, and nerves. Carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, thoracic outlet syndrome, and tension neck syndrome are examples.
For the purpose of developing injury prevention strategies, many health and safety agencies include only disorders that develop gradually and are caused by the overuse of the above constituents of the musculoskeletal system. The traumatic injuries of the muscles, tendons and nerves due to accidents are not considered to be WMSDs or are considered separately.
Work activities which are frequent and repetitive, or activities with awkward postures cause these disorders which may be painful during work or at rest.
Almost all work requires the use of the arms and hands. Therefore, most WMSD affect the hands, wrists, elbows, neck, and shoulders. Work using the legs can lead to WMSD of the legs, hips, ankles, and feet. Some back problems also result from repetitive activities
Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) are associated with these factors:
Work postures and movements.
Repetitiveness and pace of work.
Force of movements.
Lack of influence or control over one's job.
Increase pressure (e.g., to produce more).
Lack of or poor communication.
Perception of low support (e.g., manager or co-worker).
Certain workplace conditions, for example, the layout of the workstation influence these factors. In other situations, the psychosocial factors at the workplace may contribute to WMSDs.
The table below outlines occupational risk factors and symptoms of the most common disorders of the upper body associated with WMSDs.
Disorders Occupational risk factors Symptoms
Tendonitis/tenosynovitis Repetitive wrist motions Pain, weakness, swelling,burning
Repetitive shoulder motions sensation or dull ache over affected Sustained hyper extension of arms area
Prolonged load on shoulders
Epicondylitis (elbow tendonitis) Repeated or forceful rotation of the Same symptoms as tendonitis
forearm and bending of the wrist
at the same time
Carpal tunnel syndrome Repetitive wrist motions Pain, numbness, tingling, burning sensations, wasting of muscles at base of thumb, dry palm
DeQuervain's disease Repetitive hand twisting and Pain at the base of thumb
Thoracic outlet syndrome Prolonged shoulder flexion Pain, numbness, swelling of the Extending arms above shoulder height hand
Carrying loads on the shoulder
Tension neck syndrome Prolonged restricted posture Pain