With how busy our daily lives are, it often seems like there is never enough time to slow down for anything, certainly not to deal with an unexpected injury. And yet even in most normal routines and day-to-day activities, there is the potential risk of injuring your musculoskeletal system that could put us out of commission. In fact, a 2016 study from the World Health Organization showed that musculoskeletal conditions (also known as musculoskeletal disorders, or MSD) were the second highest contributor to disability worldwide.
The physicians at Resurgens Orthopaedics are experts at treating MSD's, so in this blog we will discuss some of the most common types of MSD's and provide tips on how to prevent and treat them.
The Most Common Types of Musculoskeletal Disorders
A stiff wrist? Low back pain? A sharp pain in your shoulder? These are symptoms which can stem from your daily activities and might signify a musculoskeletal injury. Anything that involves movement could put you at risk for a MSD - sports activities, housework, even just walking around.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is numbness, tingling, or pain that occurs in your hand. This syndrome occurs when the median nerve - which provides feeling in the thumb, index, middle, and ring finger and controls muscles around the base of the thumb - experiences increased pressure. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can be caused by repetitive hand movements, like typing for long periods of time.
One way to avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is by taking frequent breaks when engaging in any activities that call for repetitive hand motions. However, if you are already suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, you can likely find relief through a variety of methods, including wearing a wrist brace, taking anti-inflammatories, resting and doing exercises that improve the flexibility and strength of your arm and wrist.
Rotator Cuff Injuries
Rotator Cuff Injuries are injuries that affect the muscles of your shoulder. Your shoulder is made up of the humerus (the upper arm bone), scapula (shoulder blade), and clavicle (the collarbone). The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint: the ball, or head, of your upper arm bone fits into a shallow socket in your shoulder blade. Your arm is kept in place by the rotator cuff, a group of four muscles that come together as tendons to form a covering around the head of the humerus. The rotator cuff attaches the humerus to the shoulder blade and helps to lift and rotate your arm. Any injury to these can result in loss of mobility and pain.
If you've overused or overexerted your shoulder, or fallen onto your arm or shoulder, there's a chance you could have injured your rotator cuff muscles. If you suspect you've injured your rotator cuff, see one of our general orthopaedic experts for diagnosis and treatment options.
Lateral Epicondylitis (also known as "Tennis Elbow") is an inflammation of the tendons that join the forearm muscles on the outside of the elbow. The symptoms include pain or burning on the outer part of your elbow and weak grip strength in the affected arm. Tennis Elbow can affect tennis players, however, this MSD can affect not just racquet sports players, but anyone who stresses this part of their elbow: plumbers, painters, carpenters, butchers, and many others.
Overcoming this kind of injury may require rest, ice, or anti-inflammatory medications, as well as stretching exercises. Of course, preventing this injury first starts with taking breaks when necessary to prevent overuse.
Lower Back Muscle Strains
Lower Back Muscle Strains are another common musculoskeletal disorder. Low back pain often starts after heavy lifting, twisting while lifting, sudden back movements, or a fall. If you've suffered from a lower back muscle strain, then ice, anti-inflammatory medication and 1-2 days of rest may be the initial step in treating acute back pain.
But be careful: Resting for more than a couple of days can prolong healing and lead to deconditioning of your back muscles. After the first 48 hours, switch from ice to heat if you are experiencing muscle spasms. If your low back pain persists for more than a few days, consult an orthopaedic physician to explore other treatment options.
Why You Should See a General Orthopaedist About Your MSD
If you're grappling with these or any other musculoskeletal disorders, it's important to see an orthopaedist for treatment options. Resurgens' general orthopaedic physicians are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries. Schedule an appointment with a Resurgens general orthopaedist today!