Musculoskeletal injury? What? Pronounced muh-skyuh-low-skeh-luh-tl, these types of workplace injuries are common. Often referred to as musculoskeletal disorders or MSDs by the Centers for Disease Control, National Safety Council, and the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, they are a big part of workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania.
How Common Are Musculoskeletal Injuries & What Are They?
Musculoskeletal injuries account for nearly 70 million physician office visits in the United States annually. Nationally in 2020, MSDs accounted for over 20% of work injuries that resulted in multiple days away from work. The National Safety Council (NSC) has called MSDs the most common workplace injury. In a survey of 2,000 workers by Willis Towers Watson, more than two-thirds of people (68 percent) say that their job caused or exacerbated their MSD.
Musculoskeletal injuries include:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Muscle / Tendon strains
- Ligament Sprains
- Tension Neck Syndrome
- Thoracic Outlet Compression
- Rotator Cuff Tendonitis
- Radial Tunnel Syndrome
- Digital Neuritis
- Trigger Finger / Thumb
- DeQuervain’s Syndrome
- Mechanical Back Syndrome
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Ruptured / Herniated Disc
They are also sometimes called ergonomic injuries, repetitive motion injuries, repetitive stress injuries, and overuse injuries.
What Causes Musculoskeletal Injuries?
A lot of it involves ergonomics, or more simply the way workers arrange and use things in their environment. However, workplace MSDs also involve employers and the way they address issues that lead to these injuries. Sixty-four percent of MSD-sufferers thought their condition was worsened by their occupation. One third said their employer was aware of their condition but failed to provide adequate support.
What specifically leads to a musculoskeletal injury:
- Repetitive motion,
- Multiple exertions, and
- Being rubbed, abraded, or jarred by vibration.
Work fatigue is also big factor. As a person works and tires, the muscles and skeleton are at increased risk for injury and pain.
What Professions Are Most at Risk for Musculoskeletal Injuries?
MSD risks are well known in:
- Distribution and warehousing;
- Health care;
- Meatpacking and poultry processing;
- Public safety occupations like corrections, firefighting, and law enforcement; and
- Shipyard work
And don’t think you can’t suffer a musculoskeletal injury just because you are young. The Willis Towers Watson survey found that MSDs are even more common among workers aged 18 to 24 and 25 to 34 than 45-to-54-year-olds and those over the age of 55.
How Are Musculoskeletal Injuries Diagnosed?
Early diagnosis of an MSD can be challenging. Many conditions from a musculoskeletal injury develop over time with work-related causes like manual handling, lifting, and repetitive actions.
It is critical that as soon as you feel symptoms of an injury that you report it to your employer promptly, the entire scope of your injury. You can read more on what to do and not do when you’re hurt at work here: Six Things Not to Do When You Get Hurt at Work.
We Fight for the Check You Deserve When You’re Hurt at Work with a Musculoskeletal Injury
If you or a loved one was hurt at work with a musculoskeletal injury, contact us. Mitch Dugan and his highly skilled and experienced workers’ compensation lawyers at Dugan & Associates will work vigorously to pursue fair and just compensation for loss of earnings, medical expenses, and damages. Consultations are free. If there is not a recovery of compensation, there is also no fee. Contact us today online or by telephone at 412-353-3572.