Diseases can affect any part of the body and can have a number of causes. The activities involved in everyday work and how you treat your body during working hours can take a toll on your skeletal as well as muscular system. Read on, to learn about disorders which affect the movement of the human body.
The human body is more than just flesh and organs. The skeletal system on which flesh rests, is more than just a frame. In tandem with muscles and joints, the skeleton allows movements, provides balance and form and is a defensive wall between the tender internal body parts and physical harm. The combination of muscle and bone, working together for a movement is called the musculoskeletal system of the human body. It is made of bones and muscles along with necessary connectors like tissue, cartilage, tendons, joints and ligaments.
This system like any body system, is susceptible to diseases and damage. Like a machine which needs maintenance if used too often and too hard, the musculoskeletal system is highly prone to wear and tear damage, due to environmental factors and activities or a weak and ineffective system. In this article, learn about the illnesses and disorders that affect the functioning of the musculoskeletal system.
What are Musculoskeletal Disorders?
Think of the musculoskeletal system as a car. The joints and ligaments of the body are equivalent to the pistons and gears of a car. Cartilage helps prevent friction between connecting parts, similar to oiling the internal parts of a car. The solidness of bones provides a frame for the entire mechanism to rest in. Muscles can be thought of as car wheels, which move the frame along. If one component of this highly connected system is damaged or not functioning properly, the entire moving activity or motion is hampered. And such wear and tear can occur because of overuse or over-strain. Disorders of the musculoskeletal system do not occur all of a sudden, they are gradual in nature. Buildup or increase in trauma over a period of time damages this system. And they are also progressive, meaning today it’s a small ache, after a week it’s a throbbing pain.
Some probable causes or situations that can create a disorder in this system are:
- Damaging working environment – high or low temperature, humidity
- Repeated stress or trauma in an area
- Pushing the body part to its limits, working more and faster or better
- Bad posture or form
- Repeated activities (lifting, vibration, stretching) that use the same body part
- Inability of the body to catch up or cope with the activity
- Physical impossibility of the body to perform a particular task or job
- Not enough rest or the body is not allowed to recover in between
Now what situation would put an individual through any of the above causes? What about your day-to-day work or job? The motions that you go through while you work are repetitive, you do them everyday and as such, they inflict continuous stress or trauma on your system. Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) are heavily work-related, either the working environment or the work activity itself causes them. Such work related injuries are also called Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs), overuse injuries or repetitive motion disorders. At least 1 in 4 Americans suffer from a musculoskeletal disorder and over a hundred different MSDs are caused by work.
List of Musculoskeletal Disorders
|Name||Causal Action||Body Area Affected|
|Carpal Tunnel Syndrome||Continuous/repetitive hand motions||Hand and fingers|
|Cervicalgia/Neck Pain||Wrong posture, stress and straining of muscle||Neck|
|Charley Horse||Severe exercise or activeness||Legs|
|Bursitis||Chronic strain or overuse||Knee, elbow, hip, shoulder|
|De Quervain’s Syndrome||Repetitive thumb actions and overuse||Thumb|
|Epicondylitis/Tennis Elbow||Overexertion, repetitive motions, weird unused movements||Outer elbow part|
|Lumbago||Strain on the back, bad posture||Lower back region|
|Rotator Cuff Tear||Throwing, rotating, swinging movements with force||Shoulder muscles and tendons|
|Tendonitis||Repetitive forceful motions, over-stretching, overloading the body part||Any body area with a tendon|
|Tension Neck Syndrome||Unusual or bent posture for long time||Neck|
|Thoracic Outlet Syndrome||Repeated arm and shoulder use, non-ergonomic posture, lifting arms overhead||Muscles between the arm and neck|
|Trigger Finger||Continuous and repeated forceful finger motions||Finger tendon|
Musculoskeletal disorders can seriously affect the working capacity of an individual and can have a long-term effect on his/hers quality of life. A small injury today can turn into a permanent and debilitating medical condition. Using the right equipment and tools as well as protective gear, is necessary for those in very strenuous or active jobs such as construction. Corporate workers should try to incorporate ergonomic elements into their working environment. Proper posture and form while working should be followed. Stretching and relaxing of muscles through simple exercises can help ease strain on the tendons and joints. Minimizing the straining events of day-to-day work helps in avoiding such disorders in the long run.