Free «Preclusion of Work Associated Musculoskeletal Disorders» Essay Sample

Introduction

Musculoskeletal health complications have become a common thing among the working class. The ailments are characterized by discomfort, pain, as well as poor functioning of the neck, extremities, and the back. Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) may be defined as bodily impairments on structures such as joints, ligaments, tendons, nerves, and localized blood circulation. They may affect bones and muscles as well. Most of these MSDs are accumulated effects of frequent exposure to both high and low intensity loads for a long time. Sometimes, they occur as a result of accidents leading to acute traumas like bodily fractures. The symptoms may include discomfort, pain, disability, and reduced body functionality. The signs could appear individually or collectively.

The objective of this paper entails an evaluation of workstation level training and management of labor force to reduce risks posed by MSDs. Further, it seeks to establish a process through which both prevention as well as therapy of the affected can be performed. That will involve offering trainings to workers as well as factory managers to ensure the safety of their employees. Furthermore, it will teach the required response to such cases if they happen. Moreover, the paper will explain possible symptoms of workers who may be suffering from MSDs and the treatment required thereof.

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Evidence on Musculoskeletal Disorders

Several reports by health agencies both governmental and non-governmental have showed various factors contributing to the increase or probability of MSDs occurrence. Although the causes could either be internal or external, the focus will mainly be on the external, especially at the work place. For example, a report by Woolf and Pfleger (2003) showed that about 33% of American adults had complained at least once over MSDs symptoms. The same research singled out back-pain as the most common with close to 33% of the entire population having experienced it (Woolf & Pfleger, 2003). Again, a National Health Interview established that close to 61.6 million of the American adults has had protracted joint pain. Of that group, about 51.2 million attributed their ailments to arthritis (Dall et al., 2013). Further, another 31.4 million individuals had complained of neck pains (Dall et al., 2013).

Furthermore, Dr. W. E. D. Turner’s study has provided a total of six main MSDs for workers, including Myofascial Dysfunction Disorder. Others comprise of Tendon Attachment Ailments, Fibromyalgia Pain Syndrome (FMS), Spinal Dysfunction, as well as normal aches caused by work process. Additionally, in their investigative report on MSDs among farmers, Fethke et al. (2015) noted the experiences of back pain. However, the percentages showed the number to be slightly low, an aspect that was explained by poor responses from them.

According to the research, low back affected most farmers taking about 33.2% of all MSDs complains. Shoulder and neck aches came at second position with about 30.8%, while wrist, elbow and hand discomforts took 21.6%. Activities such as lifting heavy materials were associated with back pain. On the other hand, material handling as well as undertakings in material handling together with responsibilities like milking impacted heavily on the neck, wrist and elbow areas (Fethke et al., 2015). Gerr et al. (2013) report has indicated that in2012 MSDs contributed to 29% of all the injuries as well as illnesses leading to off days. That has also gained support from Puolakka et al. whose research of 152 patients concluded that about 53% of people took sick leave due to MSDs related issues (Gerr et al., 2014).

Moreover, MSDs affect individuals differently depending on their work environment. The high-risk sector workers include those in air transportation, mining, leather tanning, heavy and light manufacturing, and nursing. Others, such as clerical workers, cleaners, those in industrial inspection, and packaging have appeared to be faced with the upper-extremity MSDs (Roffey et al., 2010). Besides the two aforementioned ones, the lower-limb disorders have become common among truck drivers and airplane baggage handlers. Others include nurses, crane and heavy vehicle operators, as well as warehouse workers (Hiller et al., 2012). The table below depicts occurrences for selected job-related sectors.

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Activities Leading to Occurrence of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WMSDs)

WMSDs may present themselves in three forms that include nerve injury, tendon injury, and muscle injury.

Tendon Injury

Tendons comprise of several fiber bundles attaching muscles to bones. The disorder in this case occurs due to repetitive work activities, as well as awkward body posture. The ailments mainly appear along the wrist and the hand. However, those with sheaths occur normally around forearm, shoulder, and elbow. At their interior, the cells of the stealth produce a slippery fluid necessary for the lubrication of tendons. An excessive swing of the wrist leads to a malfunctioning of lubrication system (Gatchel, 2011). That essentially causes friction between the sheath and the tendon, and hence the swelling as well as inflammation of the surrounding area. If the friction persists, a fibrous tissue may get formed which thickens and hinders tendon movement. Consequently, it increases inflammation of the sheath and has become known as tenosynovitis. However, a swelling that creates a bump below the skin has become regarded as ganglion cyst. The inflammation at the shoulder has become known as bursitis.

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Muscle Injury

Contraction of muscle lasting over a long time may cause reduction in the speed of blood flow (Courvoisier et al., 2011). That leads to accumulation of substances formed in the muscles due to slow pace of their removal. The buildup of waste in muscles creates irritation, and hence the pain. However, the intensity of the aching depends on the muscle contraction time-frame allowing for faster blood circulation and removal of waste.

Nerve Injury

The pain mainly consists of muscle activities under brain control. The nerves transmit information about pain, touch and temperature of the body to the brain. It also controls functions like salivation and sweating. Ligaments, muscles, and tendons surround the nerves. A repeated movement, as well as an awkward pose leads to the swelling of adjacent nerves, thus squeezing them. The compression causes numbness and weakened muscles. Moreover, it could also lead to skin dryness, as well as reduced flow to extremities.

Symptoms of WMSDs

Early Stage

In this phase the patient experiences tiredness as well as aching beginning at the time of work and persisting to the night during their resting time. Sometimes it may extend to their off work duties although the work performances remain the same.

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Intermediate Stage

It is usually an extension of the early phase. However, other than just the persistence of tiredness and pain, the patient experiences reduced capacity to continue with repetitive work. For example, if they were lifting weights, the number of times they would do so becomes limited.

Late Stage

It is the final stage and involves fatigue, pain, and constant weakness even at the time of rest. It also entails inability to perform light duties as well as sleep.

Recognizing WMSDs

The assessment of WMSDs may entail workplace risks identification. The first step involves a discussion of personnel’s typical day work processes. The core areas of focus comprise of duration, frequency, task regularity, and intensity. Its diagnosis may get confirmed through electronic and laboratory tests which help establish any muscle or nerve damage. For instance, electroneuromyography (ENMG) may be helpful. The test procedure incorporates two parts including nerve conduction velocity (NCV) and electromyography (EMG). The images are provided through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The test produces pictures of ligaments, muscles, and tendons, thus assisting in the enhancement of quality of diagnostic data.

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Treatment of WMSDs

The treatment method entails several approaches which include movement restriction, heat or cold application, exercise, as well as medication and surgery.

Movement Restriction

This step means avoidance of the activities leading to WMSDs to circumvent possible injuries. Restrictions should be put on the number of hours worked. In case the problem persists, a transfer to new job might be necessary. Again, in such situations a splint may be used cautiously.

Heat or Cold Application

The benefits include acceleration of the repair process. Coldness minimizes both the aches and swelling and does well in inflammations as well as injuries. However, in case of muscle pain, cold material may not be used as it may lead to more contractions. At this point, the recommendation is to use heat. The warmth creates a good temperature for easing the flow of blood and removing the present lactic acid that contributed to irritation.

Exercise

Work-outs relax muscles, and hence reduce tension. Stretching encourages circulation, which is vital in helping smooth the flow of blood. However, caution needs to be applied as it could aggravate the condition rather than solve it.

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Medication and Surgery

If the pain continues, drugs reducing the inflammation should be used. Further difficulties would require contacting a doctor for an elaborate treatment including a surgery if there are no other options.

Preclusion of WMSDs

Musculoskeletal disorders at work can be prevented in several ways. First, it becomes vital for management to offer lifestyle programs promoting good health. That should include the required approaches to WMSDs, whether during treatment or deterrence. Additionally, the management as well as other workers require training on the risks involved in their responsibilities at the work station. That will ensure they protect themselves through avoidance of such hazardous activities.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the risks emanating from musculoskeletal disorder have adverse effect on the health of the majority of workers. The condition has been around as long as humans, affecting their body parts such as the back, neck, wrist, bones, ligaments, and joints. The patients experience pains and tiredness along these areas that may persist for days. WMSDs may appear in three different forms including muscle, tendon, and nerve injuries. Constant working without relaxation has become a contributor to the ailment, which has affected the majority of employees seeking off work days. When aiming to reduce the effects of the disorder, several steps could be undertaken. Firstly, workers should get training programs advising them on the health needs at the workplace. Employees and managers need to be well equipped with information that could help them reduce the risks they face by performing recurring activities. Besides the prevention, treatment methods may be used to reduce the pain or heal a patient. These approaches may include movement restriction, exercise, medication, surgery as well as heat or cold application.

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