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Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD)

Last updated: October 8, 2018

What Does Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD) Mean?

Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD) are soft-tissue injuries typically caused by sudden or sustained exposure to repetitive motion, force, vibration, and awkward positions. They can affect the muscles; nerves; tendons; joints; and cartilage in the upper and lower limbs, neck, and lower back. Workplace design plays a crucial role in the development of an MSD and they are most commonly observed in industries characterized by work that places prolonged physical strain on certain parts of the body.

Safeopedia Explains Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD)

The term Musculoskeletal Disorder covers all injuries, damages, or disorders of the joints or other tissues in the upper/lower limbs or the back. Symptoms of MSD can occur in any major area of the musculoskeletal system and can include recurrent plain, stiff joints, swelling, and persistent aches. Depending on the severity of the Musculoskeletal Disorder, it could interfere with everyday tasks, such as walking and typing.

MSDs are commonly observed in workers who are required to perform repetitive movement. There are three primary ergonomic factors for the development of MSD: high task repetition, forceful exertions, and repetitive or sustained awkward postures.

A person's risk of developing MSD is related to their age, lifestyle, family history, activity level, and occupation (workers in the manufacturing and construction sectors are at a higher level of MSD risk).

Worker fatigue is a cause that often leads to the development of Musculoskeletal Disorders, as routinely pushing the worker’s body beyond their ability to recover causes a musculoskeletal imbalance and eventually an MSD.


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