What causes musculoskeletal disorder
by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR
Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.
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Musculoskeletal disorders or diseases are those that affect the bones, muscles and joints.
They are characterized by chronic pain and limited mobility. Depending on the type and severity of the disorder or disease, treatment can range from simple rest to surgical intervention.
Some common musculoskeletal disorders include:
Arthritis - Inflammation of a joint, usually accompanied by pain, stiffness and swelling.
Back Pain - It is usually characterized by dull, continuous pain and tenderness in the muscles of the lower regions of the back. Sometimes sharp pains may occur with certain movements. Some causes for back pain include poor posture, bad lifting, pushing and pulling techniques, and pregnancy. Also, arthritic conditions may be responsible in older individuals.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - Pain, numbness or weakness that is due to compression of the median nerve in the wrist. This causes pain in the hand, thumb or index finger. Pain may radiate into the arm. Causes for carpal tunnel syndrome include repetitive stress, certain diseases, and trauma.
Epicondylitis - Inflammation of the tendon insertion at the epicondyle of the elbow. Examples are tennis elbow (lateral) and golfer's elbow (medial). Common causes include repetitive motion, trauma, and overexertion.
Fibromyalgia - Chronic pain in muscles and soft tissues surrounding joints. The cause is suspected to be defective neurotransmitter function in the brain.
Neck Pain - Neck pain is usually caused by poor posture, poor lifting techniques, and overexertion. Another major cause is stress. Some common symptoms of neck pain are persistent aching and stiffness, and sharp pain.
Repetitive Stress Injury - Muscle and ligament damage caused by repeated trauma, usually associated with writing, painting, typing, or use of vibrating tools or other hand tools. Almost any form of activity that produces repeated trauma to a particular area of soft tissue, including tendons may cause this type of injury.
Scoliosis - Curvature of the spine caused by a congenital abnormality or trauma.
Tendonitis or tendinosis - Deterioration of a tendon from repetitive motion and age. There is usually very little inflammation. The problem is more due to degeneration of tendon fibers.
Trigger Finger - Trigger finger is caused by an inflamed tendon sheath that prevents normal sliding of the tendon.A popping or locking sensation characterizes this disorder.
Degenerative Joint Disease - Degenerative joint disease, also known as osteoarthritis, is the breakdown of cartilage inside the joint. Common causes of this disease are inflammation, previous injury and congenital defects.
Fractures - A fracture is a broken bone. Common causes of fractures are injury, disease and age. As people age, bone density and strength decrease making the risk for fracture greater.
Hip Disorders - There are many types of hip disorders including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, bone tumors, and fractures. These hip disorders limit mobility and cause weakness.
Knee Disorders - There are many types of knee disorders including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ligament tears, meniscus tears, and fractures. Treatment is designed to decrease pain, increase strength, mobility and function.
Sciatica - Sciatica is characterized by pain radiating into the buttocks and running down the back of the leg and results from compression of the sciatic nerve. Common causes of sciatica are poor posture, muscle strain, overexertion, a herniated disk or wearing high heels.
Spinal Stenosis - Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal causing pressure on the spinal cord. Common causes of spinal stenosis are arthritis, trauma and degenerating of disks in the spine.
Some people whose jobs involve intensive keyboard use have reported experiencing pain in their wrists, arms, and neck. This type of disorder has been called repetitive stress injury (RSI). This refers to a variety of soft-tissue problems in the upper limbs such as tendonitis, tenosynovitis, muscle strain, and nerve entrapment syndromes. The key is prevention which includes a careful look at the ergonomics of the workstation by a qualified occupational therapist.
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