ERGONOMIC AND MUSCULOSKELETAL DISORDERS

Ergonomic and musculoskeletal disorders are the most common types of work-related injuries, and they also result in the highest financial burdens for businesses and the workers’ compensation system. Musculoskeletal diseases are conditions that affect the body’s soft tissues, including the nerves, blood vessels, tendons, and ligaments. Overuse injuries, cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs), and repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) are other names used to refer to these types of conditions.

Ergonomics is frequently used interchangeably with “musculoskeletal diseases.” Ergonomic is the study of adapting working environments and the requirements of jobs to the capabilities of the people doing the jobs. In other words, musculoskeletal diseases are a problem, and ergonomics is a solution.

TYPES

Ergonomic and musculoskeletal disorders can cause three different kinds of injuries:

  • Muscle injury
  • Nerve injury
  • Tendon injury

SYMPTOMS

The pain sensation is the symptom that occurs most frequently in connection with ergonomics and musculoskeletal disorders. In some situations, there could be:

  • joint stiffness
  • the affected area is red and swollen
  • tightness of the muscles

Additionally, certain employees could feel the following sensations:

  • changes occur in the color of the skin
  • numbness
  • pins and needles
  • reduced hand sweating

Ergonomics and musculoskeletal disorders can proceed in phases ranging from moderate to severe.

  • Early stage: Aching and fatigue of the afflicted limb arise throughout the work shift but go away at night and on days off. There is no drop in work performance.
  • Intermediate stage: Aching and weariness begin early in the work shift and last throughout the night. Reduced ability to do repeated tasks.
  • Late stage: At rest, aching, weariness, and weakness continue—inability to sleep and accomplish minor tasks.

DIAGNOSIS

Identifying occupational dangers is part of the examination of ergonomics and musculoskeletal disorders. The evaluation procedure begins with a discussion about the individual’s occupation and needs a full explanation of all processes involved in a typical workday. The frequency, intensity, length, and regularity of each activity done at work are all considered.

Ergonomics and musculoskeletal disorders are diagnosed using laboratory and electronic procedures that detect nerve or muscle damage. Electroneuromyography (ENMG) is one such test that combines electromyography (EMG) with nerve conduction velocity (NCV). Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a non-invasive alternative to x-rays, offers pictures of tendons, ligaments, and muscles and increases diagnostic information quality.

TREATMENT

Several techniques are used to treat ergonomics and musculoskeletal disorders, including the following:

  • exercise
  • heat or cold application
  • limitation of movement
  • surgery and medication

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