Work-related neck and upper limb disorders (WRULDs) are a category of ergonomic injuries that typically include soft tissue damage to the muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, blood vessels, or nerves of the neck and upper limb areas. Muscle strains and tears, ligament sprains, joint and tendon inflammation, pinched nerves, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, and rotator cuff syndrome are all examples of WRULDs.
WRULDs are either caused or primarily aggravated (or both) by work or the environment in which work takes place.
WRULDs are among the most costly injuries in terms of the pain and suffering of workers and direct and indirect costs to employers.
WRULDs may result from the following conditions:
- Awkward postures, such as working with hands above head
- High hand force, such as gripping an unsupported object
- Highly repetitive motions, such as performing intensive keying
- Repeated impact, such as using the hand as a “hammer”
- Heavy, frequent, awkward lifting
- Moderate to high hand-arm vibration caused by using equipment such as grinders or sanders
- Combinations of any of these conditions
Symptoms of WRULDs can take long periods of time to develop and can present as pain, numbness, tingling sensations, swelling in the joints, loss of strength or mobility, or discoloration of the hands or fingers.