Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) are commonly caused by work activities that are repetitive, frequent or cause us to assume uncomfortable and awkward body positions. WMSDs affect the tendons, nerves and muscles of the body. These disorders are painful and can be debilitating.
Because we use our hands and arms so much when we work, most WMSDs appear in the hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders and neck. But when the legs are used a lot, the feet, ankles, legs, hips and sometimes the back can be involved.
There are many names used to describe WMSDs and classifying them can be difficult. Even though few agree on the terms, here are some of the more common ones used:
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Repetitive strain injuries
- Cumulative trauma disorders
- Overuse syndrome
- Soft tissue disorders
Anyone on any job can suffer from WSMDs. In fact, these disorders are responsible for much time lost from work and great pain. They can even disable the sufferer, making continuing a job impossible.
While the movements that cause WSMDs are usually harmless in every day living, when a job requires constant repetition of one or more movements, the body can be injured. There are several factors that often cause these disorders:
- Fixed or constrained body positions: For instance, a keyboard operator must remain in a fixed position for long periods of time, affecting the shoulder and neck muscles.
- Continual repetition of movements. An example is an assembly line worker who must repeat the same movement over and over, causing strain on the tendons, muscles and even nerves of the affected body part.
- Concentrated force on one body part. One example would be a roofer, who uses the same wrist motion and force to drive thousands of nails in a day.
- Work that is paced too quickly to allow recovery between movements: When work is fast, whether on the assembly line or a quota requirement, stress occurs, which increases the tension in the muscles. This, in turn, causes injury.
If you suspect you are suffering from a WMSD, you might look for these symptoms:
- In the early stage, you may experience aching and fatigue at work, but they go away when you leave work.
- The intermediate stage is characterized by the same symptoms, only they begin early in the work shift and continue into the night.
- The late stage combines aching, fatigue, and weakness. Sleep becomes difficult and even light work is sometimes impossible.
It is important that you get medical attention before you reach a point of no return. While most WMSDs can heal, if the stressor continues for too long, the injury can become irreversible.
The experts at Keefe Disability Law can help you deal with the disability application process should you become unable to work for a long period of time or even disabled from a work-related musculoskeletal disorder. These conditions are very difficult to prove.
Please let us review your case to see if you qualify for Social Security disability assistance. Call us today toll free at 888-904-6847. Or order a copy of our free report, Five Most Frequently Asked Questions about Social Security Disability.