Musculoskeletal awareness
April 2020   HEALTHCARE

Musculoskeletal awareness

Musculoskeletal discomfort is something that most people everyone will experience at some point in their lives.
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Musculoskeletal conditions, which typically lead to pain and decreased mobility, can be caused by a number of factors including normal age-related degenerative changes, poor fitness, high job demands, and a sedentary lifestyle.[1]

Did You Know?

  • Musculoskeletal conditions are the main cause of disability worldwide1
  • Lower back pain is the single leading cause of disability globally1
  • Between 20 and 33% of all people live with a musculoskeletal condition1
  • Musculoskeletal conditions affect people of all ages, including children1

Musculoskeletal conditions are any injury, damage, or disorder of the joints or other tissues in the limbs or back.[2] The risk of developing some of these conditions can be significantly minimized and many of them can be treated or managed when detected early.1,2

Preventing musculoskeletal conditions involves taking the same measures as for many other non-communicable diseases. These include an active lifestyle, maintaining a healthy weight, following a healthy diet, and limiting alcohol and tobacco consumption.1,[3]

Here are some specific guidelines you can follow to prevent musculoskeletal problems in the workplace[4]:

  • Adjust your workstation and your chair to ensure that your posture is suitable for your tasks. That way you don’t strain your neck, back, or legs.
  • Avoid being static for prolonged periods of time. Make sure you take regular breaks and stretch your arms, legs, neck, and back.
  • If you are required to handle weights or to make repetitive movements for your job, consult a safety manual and use safe handling techniques to avoid injuries from joint overuse or improper weight handling.

Treatment for musculoskeletal conditions can be through primary care and non-surgical treatments such as exercise plans, weight management, and medication. More serious cases and conditions may require specialist care or surgery.1


[1] Musculoskeletal conditions. WHO. Reviewed November 26, 2019. Accessed March 11, 2020.

[2] Musculoskeletal disorders in detail. HSE. Accessed March 11, 2020.

[3] Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). HSE. Accessed March 11, 2020.

[4] Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders & Ergonomics. CDC. Reviewed February 12, 2020. Accessed March 11, 2020.

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