Understanding Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WMSD): Risk Factors & Treatment

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A visit to the Family Physician/ Occupational Physician for musculoskeletal pain can be largely unsatisfying because of the persistent nature of the problem juxtaposed against routine analgesics that one gets from the doctor after the consult. Commonly, there may not be enough time to explain a particular ailment in detail sufficient for self-management.

It is important to know that musculoskeletal injuries and in particular, repetitive motion injuries (RMI) rarely originate from one event or a particular factor. As a rule, they develop over time from a variety of factors.

Risk Factors, Conditions & Treatment

Factors predisposing to such injuries can equally be attributed to work and non-work related (for e.g individual practice, age, body build, diabetes, personality and attitudes). Basic office activities involve sitting in front of a computer terminal and operating it by typing or moving a mouse – harmless as it may seem, they do set the stage for injuries that can develop over time.

Work-related Factors

Work-related factors that are associated with greatest risk for musculoskeletal injuries are:

  1. Fixed and constrained postures – awkward, uncomfortable or maintained for too long.
  2. Repetitive and forceful movements – causes “wear and tear” issues.
  3. High pace of work – determines amount of rest and recovery the muscles get.

Common Conditions: Prevention & Treatment Modalities

We will focus more on the commoner injuries/ diseases seen in the working population from head to toe.

The conditions described exist in a spectrum, and their mention is limited to the most common presentation. Treatment modalities consider that work-related hazards have already been mitigated via Hierarchy of Control.

DR+ Medical & Paincare East Coast

Led by Dr. Kwong Seh Meng, DR+ Medical & Paincare East Coast is a family clinic providing chronic disease and diabetes management, general paediatrics, men’s health, musculoskeletal pain and sports medicine, weight management, health screenings, statutory medical/ maid examinations, minor surgical procedures (lumps, bumps, warts), anonymous HIV testing and STD treatment, point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) and home care/ palliative care services.

Address: 146 East Coast Road, Singapore 428835

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