Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention-Avoid Pain

Though a variety of treatments are available to help people with MSD-MSI to recover and resume pain-free normal lives, prevention is always better than cure. Here are some of the best ways for Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention

Musculoskeletal Injury or Disorder—what is it?

A musculoskeletal disorder can be best described as an injury that affects the body’s musculoskeletal system or movement. This is an injury of the tendons, ligaments, joints, nerves, muscles, bones, blood vessels or cartilage in the legs, head, back, arms and the neck. These are the body’s supporting structures that bear the weight of the body and help in locomotion.

The Musculoskeletal pain caused by the injury can be acute or chronic; widespread or localized in 1 particular area. This depends on the degree of injury and cause. Some of the most common types of musculoskeletal injuries are lower back injuries, stress fractures, and tendinitis.

Did you know that according to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), Musculoskeletal Disorders accounted for nearly 28.8 percent of lost time injuries in the year 2010?

 In 2014 Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) accounted for 32 percent of all injury and illness cases in the workplace.

 What are the Causes?

MSD (Musculoskeletal Disorder) may be caused, aggravated or exacerbated by either sudden exertion or lengthened exposure to day to day or work-related activities that involve force, awkward posture, vibration, pushing, pulling, or lifting.

Performing these activities on a daily basis can cause wear and tear of the tissues and damage them badly. And as these activities are performed frequently, over the course of time, the body doesn’t get much time to recover and eventually, you start experiencing pain. Simply stated, the musculoskeletal fatigue tends to outrun the body’s recovery system and this imbalance eventually develops into a disorder.

Symptoms of Musculoskeletal Injury/ Disorder

Common symptoms include:

  • Twitching muscles
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Burning sensation in the muscles
  • Fatigue
  • Stiffness, numbness and tingling

Musculoskeletal Disorder Prevention Steps

Prevention is always better than cure. And we couldn’t agree more!

Therefore, below are some of the best steps that can help prevent MSI or MSD at work:

1.      MSD Risk Identification

It is crucial to identify the risk factors first that can contribute to the development of musculoskeletal injuries and disorders. Some of the common physical risk factors for MSD are daily activities that include repetition, local-contact stress, force and demanding work postures. Here, it is important to understand that presence of these risk factors is not merely enough to assess the problem but it also depends on the extent of exposure, such as how long the employee is exposed to the risk factor and how great the force is.

2.      Risk Assessment

Angelo Marino Jr PA

Angelo Marino Jr. PA Personal injury, Class actions, and Consumer litigation practice

This brings us to the second step which is risk assessment. Employers are responsible to assess the degree of MSI risk at the job or tasks performed by the workers. They need to ask where the risk is low, moderate or high. Based on this assessment, employers will be able to devise and implement quality MSI prevention controls in the workplace. A great way to assess the level of risk involved is to consult the workers who’ve suffered from MSI. This will provide employers with a representative sample.

3.      Risk Controls

Risk controls can be divided into three categories:

Engineering Control—This is design, alteration or arrangement of the physical-work environment, materials and equipment. Like a mechanical lifting-device, this is an engineering-control that can be used for lifting tasks and can reduce the risk of MSI.

Administrative Control—It includes the use & scheduling of staffing and resources available to improve how the tasks are both organized & performed, such as reducing work hours which can lessen the amount of repetitive motion.

Employees waiting for assignment

Chilean Sea Port. Picture by Lisa B

Protective Equipment & Clothing—Providing workers with protective clothing and equipment can lower the MSI related risk. For example, vibration dampening gloves when using the chainsaw or knee pads for those workers who are involved in installing floorings.

Other control measures can be; to use better designed tools, to redesign workstation to avoid excessive bending or reaching, to modify work practices, and to rotate jobs.

4.      Educate and Train Staff

To ensure the success of your  MSI-MSD prevention process, from managers to engineers, supervisors and all employees (everyone) should be informed, educated and trained. They should get the training and have the information they require so that they are well-equipped to follow through and perform the tasks with minimal risk and full-safety.

Employees must learn and wear the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and use the correct Tools and devices for the function to prevent injuries.

Workplace Hazards

People who do physical jobs like lifting heavy objects can experience pain in the limbs and muscles. Individuals who lift heavy objects need to very careful since they are putting a strain on their bodies. It is important to keep the body aligned and balanced in such cases.
Many companies have individuals who work at their desks continuously without taking breaks. This can cause stiffness in the muscles and joint pains. The body parts that can get affected are the neck, back, hands and legs

The Better Health Chanel Describes The Benefits of Yoga And Pilates Exercises. Regular practice of these exercises has proven to improve our overall health and Musculoskeletal System.

Health Benefits of Yoga Include:                                                                                                                      Royalty Free Stock Photography

1, Cardiovascular System (heart and arteries) – which means they (Yoga exercises) rely on holding muscle tension for a short period improving cardiovascular fitness and circulation. Studies show that regular yoga practice may help normalize blood pressure.
2. Digestive system – improved blood circulation and the massaging effect of surrounding muscles speeds up a sluggish digestion.
3. Musculoskeletal – joints are moved through their full range of motion, which encourages mobility and eases pressure. The gentle stretching releases muscle and joint tension, and stiffness, and also increases flexibility. Maintaining many of the (different postures)encourages strength and endurance. Weight-bearing asanas may help prevent osteoporosis, and may also help people already diagnosed with osteoporosis (if practiced with care under the supervision of a qualified yoga teacher). Long-term benefits include reduced back pain and improved posture.
4. Nervous system – improved blood circulation, easing muscle tension and the act of focusing the mind on the breath all combine to soothe the nervous system. Long-term benefits include reduced stress, anxiety and fatigue, better concentration and energy levels, and increased feelings of calm and wellbeing

General Precautions
Although Pilates is a low-impact form of exercise, certain people should seek medical advice before embarking on a new exercise program, including •people who have recently had surgery
•pregnant women
•people aged 40 years or more
•people with a pre-existing medical condition such as heart disease
•people with pre-existing musculoskeletal injuries or disorders
•anyone who has not exercised for a long time
•people who are very overweight or obese.

Health Benefits Of Pilates

Pilates exercise



1 •improved flexibility
2•increased muscle strength and tone, particularly of your abdominal muscles, lower back, hips and buttocks (the ‘core muscles’ of your body)
3•balanced muscular strength on both sides of your body
4•enhanced muscular control of your back and limbs
5•improved stabilization of your spine
6•improved posture
7•rehabilitation or prevention of injuries related to muscle imbalances
8•improved physical coordination and balance
9•relaxation of your shoulders, neck, and upper back
10•safe rehabilitation of joint and spinal injuries
11•prevention of musculoskeletal injuries
12•increased lung capacity and circulation through deep breathing
13•improved concentration
14•increased body awareness
15•stress management and relaxation.

For more information on MSI Prevention or assistance, please send  an e-mail to lisa@injuryanprevention.con

I will get back to you as soon as I can.



Driver’s Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention

Bus Driver

Bus Driver

Driver’s Working Environment and Hazards and Musculoskeletal Disorders.

Every working environment has its set of hazards and risks but did you know that professional drivers face the most hazards and risks in the workplace? Yes, it’s true.

Compared to other occupational groups, professional drivers have to deal with a very non-health friendly and non-conducive working environment which in the long run, may incur significant damage on their health.

The long and extended hours of maintaining a sitting or reclining position under the heavy pours of rain or the scorching heat of the sun expose professional drivers into a greater health risk. It makes them susceptible to many health diseases including musculoskeletal disorders.

Angelo Marino Jr PA

Angelo Marino Jr. PA Personal injury, Class actions, and Consumer litigation practice

According to research, the long hours of sustaining a driving position exerts pressure on the spine. Subsequently, this can lead to the development of musculoskeletal disorders such as neck problems, backaches, general stiffness and pulled muscles.

Among the list of musculoskeletal disorders which may develop, lower back pain is considered to be one of the most common among professional drivers. In one study, 81% of American bus drivers and 49% of Swedish bus drivers are suffering from low back pain due to their current job.

Lower back pain (LBP) is one of the major reasons behind the growing rate of absenteeism in many working populations today. Compared to other working groups, professional drivers are found to have the greatest risk for lower back pain given the nature of their job. In fact,  as per studies, LBP affects 81% of bus drivers, 51% of taxi drivers and 60% of truck drivers.

Musculoskeletal Disorders in Professional Drivers

Lumbar and Back support

Lumbar and Back support pressure Relieving Cushion, Black

Complications are observed, in lorry drivers who are tasked to deliver goods from one location to another. Most drivers complain about musculoskeletal problems on their knees, hands, hips, lower back, and shoulders. Other complaints include stiffness and pain in the neck, back, and upper limbs.

MSDs in professional drivers are, often, associated with a broad range of psychosocial and ergonomic risk factors. Among bus drivers, psychological stress factors, such as traffic congestion and short rest period on working days, are considered as major contributors.

In a scientific study involving 598 Italian professional drivers, the researchers concluded that the professional driving industry is facing an increase of lower back pain cases. Some researchers suggested that professional drivers are at a very high risk for lower back pain due to some significant factors which include carrying, lifting, awkward postures, prolonged sitting, and some psychosocial issues.

Other factors associated with Low Back Pain

Whole body vibration is also the primary element in the onset of lower back pain. Research shows that it can also trigger the development of other disorders such as early spine degeneration and herniated discs. Whole-body vibration occurs when the body shakes when it comes in contact with an oscillating surface. The vibrations of the car are transferred to the body especially to the soft tissues and spine which can cause back pain.

According to research, long term regular exposure to whole body vibration can lead to back pain. The longer the time you are exposed to body vibration, the greater is your chance of suffering from back pain, injuries, and disablement.

Sitting for throughout the long hours of trips makes drivers sustain an awkward position for an extended period. Maintaining a sitting positing for more extended hours puts greater pressure on the spine. Furthermore, slouching and slumping can create more significant stress and tension in the ligaments and muscles surrounding the lumbar spine. In the long run, this may cause pain and discomfort to the drivers.

Effects of Stress

According to research, over exposure to psychological stress caused by passenger hostility, poor accessibility to the lavatory, short lunch breaks, and undesirable traffic conditions can cause muscle tightness and spinal problems which may eventually lead to the development of musculoskeletal disorders.

Benefits of Exercise and Physical Activities

Due to the long hours of sustaining a reclining or sitting position, most drivers are less likely to engage in physical activities and exercise. Thus exposing them more susceptible to suffer from different types of musculoskeletal disorders.

According to research, increased physical activity plays a significant role in reducing the driver’s susceptibility to low back pain and other musculoskeletal disorders. Results of epidemiological studies revealed that exercise is an excellent way to strengthen the muscles of the abdomen and the back, thereby reducing their risk of MSD. When you have time, try engaging in physical activities such as tai chi and yoga as they can help in toning your back muscles and thighs.

What to Do to Prevent Backaches when Driving

Your posture in driving can significantly affect your health in the future. Sustaining an awkward position for an extended period increases your susceptibility to backaches in the future. Also, back pain can significantly affect your driving performance which when left untreated, can lose one’s occupation and source of living. So what can you do to prevent backaches?
•As much as possible, try sitting with your buttocks very close to the backrest. You have the ideal position when your leg is slightly bent whenever you press the pedal on the floor

•Adjust your seat height to the most comfortable position. If your car has a seat tilt feature, prefer a tilt angle where you can easily press the pedal on the floor. Adjust the backrest by the tilt angle you choose.

•Make sure that the upper edge of the car’s headrest is aligned with the top head. Bear in mind that the headrest is playing a vital role in maintaining a healthy posture when driving.

•Ensure that the distance between the back of your knees and the edge of the seat should be around 2-3 fingers wide.

•Make sure that your shoulders are as close as possible to the backrest. By adjusting the angle of the backrest to a point where you can easily find the steering wheel with bent arms.

•Avoid driving for more than two hours. After two hours of driving, take a break and stretch your legs. Resting periods, for leg stretching, can help in relaxing your back and preventing fatigue.

•Try changing your driving positions now and then.

This post was created with the assistance from Driving Health Safety Issues and WP Robot 5,