Work-Related Musculoskeletal Injuries and How You Can Prevent Them


What are work-related musculoskeletal injuries?

Musculoskeletal injuries at work are a widespread class of painful tendons, muscles, and nerve injuries. Tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, tension neck syndrome, and so on are only a few examples.

Work-related musculoskeletal injuries are difficult to characterize since they develop gradually after the damage due to overuse. Here we will discuss work-related musculoskeletal injuries and prevention

What are the risk factors of work-related musculoskeletal injuries?

Hand and arm actions such as bending, grasping, straightening, twisting, holding, reaching, and clenching cause work-related musculoskeletal problems. In the day-to-day tasks of daily life, these typical motions are not particularly harmful. The work circumstances and recurrent patterns are what make them pernicious. Speed movements and a lack of recuperation time can also be the reason for it, especially when doing work forcibly and often.

Work patterns that can be the cause of work-related musculoskeletal injuries;

–       Repetitive movements.

–       Fixed or limited body posture.

–       Work that does not offer enough recovery between the movements.

–       Force on the minor parts of the body like the hand, wrist and arm.

In most cases, none of these conditions are responsible for work-related musculoskeletal injuries on their own. These kinds of injuries occur due to the interplay of several factors. Cold, vibration, and heat can also be the reason for such developments.

How do such injuries occur?

Three types of work-related musculoskeletal injuries can occur;

–       Nerve injury.

–       Muscle injury.

–       Tendon injury.

Nerve injury.

Nerves convey signals directly from the brain to the muscles that govern them. They also store information about touch and pain as it travels from the body to the brain and temperature and biological control processes like salivation and perspiration. Tendons, muscles, and ligaments frequently move nerves. The tissues enclosing the nerves get compressed and swelled or compress nerves due to the repetitive movements and uncomfortable body postures. Compression of your nerves can result in muscular weakness, pins and needles sensations, and numbness. Poor circulation and skin dryness are other possible side effects.

Muscle injury.

When your muscles contract, they consume chemical energy from your body’s carbohydrates and produce by-products like lactic acid, which the blood removes. The blood flow will be reduced by a muscular contraction that lasts a long time. As a result, the chemicals created by your body muscles will not be released at the same rate as they are made, and they build up in the muscles. Muscles feel annoyance by the accumulation of these chemicals. It also leads to discomfort over time. The duration of muscular contractions and the amount of time between activities for the muscles to make changes to eliminate those irritating chemicals determine the pain level.

Tendon injury.

Multiple bundles of fibres connect muscles to bones in your tendon. Two tendon injuries occur due to recursive or repetitive job activities and uncomfortable situations. Tendons with sheaths, mostly found in the wrist or hand, and tendons without sheaths, mostly found around the elbow, shoulder, and forearm, are the two types. Your hand’s tendons are covered in sheaths that allow the tendon to glide around.

The sheaths’ inner walls produce a slick fluid that lubricates the tendon. The lubricating mechanism may not function properly if the hand is moved repeatedly or frequently. It may not create enough fluid or produce lubricant of poor quality. This defect causes friction between the tendon and its sheaths, resulting in tendon irritation and swelling. Fibrous tissue can develop as a result of chronic inflammation. It thickens the tendon sheaths and makes tendon mobility difficult. Tenosynovitis is also known as inflammation of the tendon sheath.

While inflamed with lubricating fluid, the tendon sheath could expand and form a lump under your skin. A ganglion cyst is what professionals call it.

Tendons without sheaths are prone to recurrent motion and inconvenient situations. The tendon will grow tight due to the cyclical stress, and some fibres may pull apart. Inflammation can occur when the tendon gets rough and thickened. We call it tendinitis. Tendons travel through the confined area between bones in other circumstances, such as the shoulder. As an anti-friction device, a bursa filled with lubricating fluid will lie between tendons and bones. The bursa will expand as the tendons get rough and thicker, putting a lot of friction on it. Bursitis is the inflammation of the bursa.

How to prevent them?

Employers will have a legal obligation to provide a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. The incidence and severity of such injuries caused by physical overexertion are significant in the workplace. It is necessary to follow ergonomic guidelines. In high-risk industries, including firefighting, construction, healthcare, food processing, warehousing, and transportation, it can help lower the chance of such accidents. A physiotherapy clinic for work-related injury treatment in Calgary can help you. 

Better management – You can secure the entire success of the ergonomic process with strong dedication and control. The ergonomic process must have defined goals and purposes, according to management. They should talk to their employees about it and make modifications as needed.

Recognize and give employees critical information regarding workplace danger.

Provide training – It’s the most important step in the ergonomics process. It ensures that employees are aware of it and its benefits.

Control the hazard – You may use some options to minimize, regulate, and reduce the risk. It will instantly decrease musculoskeletal injuries at work.

To protect the safety of the workers, you may focus on cooperation, job rotation, workplace design, work habits, and job expansion, in addition to the preventative methods stated above.

Read The significance of getting regular eye exams

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