Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are among the leading causes of physical pain and discomfort in the United States.
In fact, around fifty percent of citizens have or have had one or more MSDs. Musculoskeletal issues are those that cause numbness, swelling, or pain in the joints, tendons, muscles, bones, and soft tissues.
Individuals who have musculoskeletal disorders find it hard to move or do even the simplest of tasks, especially those that require fine movements such as typing, operating machines, or even just cutting vegetables for their favorite dish.
Because of their truly disabling effects, musculoskeletal disorders are really a health concern that must be addressed with much rigor. In this article, we are going to discuss the risk factors for these disorders. We also present ways of how such disorders can be effectively avoided.
There are several factors that put people at risk of having a musculoskeletal disorder. The following are just some:
As the body ages, all the important elements that comprise it – muscle, bone, skin, blood, hair, blood vessels, etc. – deteriorate as well. Bones become more brittle, and moving becomes more and more of a chore.
Muscle tone might become less firm, making the body look droopy. Tendons become worn, making every step or fine movement uncomfortable or even painful. Very clearly, older people are more vulnerable to musculoskeletal disorders than their younger counterparts.
But this surely doesn’t mean that developing an MSD is inevitable. There are ways to keep the body healthy despite their generally weakened state due to old age.
The activities that a person engages in might put them at risk of developing a musculoskeletal disorder. Someone who sits for prolonged periods might strain their muscles in the neck and back.
An athlete who works out their shoulders intensely in the gym every single day might put too much stress on their bones and joints.
An employee whose repetitive motions require them to use only the same set of muscles over and over again might put that specific muscle group at risk of early wear and tear.
It might be wrong to say this, but there are just people who are “built” to be tougher than others. Genetics plays a very important role in the development of any disease on record.
Of course, that list does not exempt musculoskeletal disorders. So people who have relatives with musculoskeletal issues should really exert extra effort in making sure that they don’t develop the disorders themselves.
They might really want to take note of the preventive measures that we are going to discuss in the paragraphs below.
If there are factors that put people at risk of contracting musculoskeletal issues, there are also measures that could help them prevent such disorders from ever afflicting them.
Everyone, especially those who have genetic predispositions, should really pay attention to these measures. After all, prevention is always better than healing back pain or any other body issue that arises from a musculoskeletal disorder.
Nothing really beats the goodness that leading a healthy lifestyle can give. Not only will it keep the muscles, bones, skin, and other body parts in great condition, it also leaves a person feeling refreshed and ready to take on challenges.
When joints and muscles are well-oiled and kept in great functioning state, they are better able to resist wear and tear and the disorders that might arise from it.
Wearing personal protective equipment (PPE)
Protective gear is not only worn to protect the wearer from external threats such as falling debris. Personal protective equipment or PPE, especially well-designed ones, are also there to assist movements, making them less stressful on the muscles and bones.
Most of the time, the muscles in our back are strained because of our problematic stance. Are we leaning too much to one side? Are we putting too much stress on our lower back muscles when we stand?
These are the questions that we need the expertise of physical therapists to answer. It can be surprising, the amount of pain that gets alleviated or avoided just by fixing our posture.
Proper Stretching Exercises
Before doing anything, it is always wise to prepare the muscles and joints for it. Proper stretching exercises warm the muscles up and make them ready to take on the stress and pressure that’s about to be put on them.
Ergonomic Assessments at Work
Most of the time, MSDs are pretty much work-related. Because of this, it’s really important to take a look at how people perform their jobs through ergonomic assessments.
It’s very possible that the design of the workplace itself has something to do with the body pains that the workers suffer from. Is the file cabinet too far? Are the cubicles too high that those who need to talk constantly need to crane their necks?
These are simple questions, but the answers to them can spell the difference between reasonable comfort and unnecessary pain.
In this day and age, we are often taught to push our limits. But we must realize that pushing our limits too hard is not always healthy. We must be willing and able to listen to our bodies.
If a movement is already painful, we should stop and start taking it slowly. Listening and being mindful of the signals that our body sends will surely go a long way.
Knowing what factors put us at risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders will help us make the right decisions regarding our health. Older people, for example, might want to be more mindful and more rigorous in following their doctors’ advice.
However, those who don’t have any of the risk factors can’t be too complacent, either. Sometimes, health issues just arise out of nowhere.
Because of this, it’s always wise to take note of and follow steps that help prevent musculoskeletal disorders and health issues in general. There is really nothing wrong with being a step ahead, especially when it comes to health and well-being.