Musculoskeletal disorders and injuries are the leading cause of disability in America. One in two adults report a musculoskeletal condition requiring medical attention. Musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) accounts for 43% of all lost-time claims, 43% of all lost-time claim costs, and 46% of all lost-time days. Musculoskeletal injuries and disorders can affect the body’s muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments and nerves. Most work-related MSDs develop over time and are caused either by the work itself or by the employees’ working environment. Musculoskeletal health is dependent on strength and flexibility, but it’s also dependent on overall good health. So, how can you make a difference and turn these statistics around? Here are four ways to prevent musculoskeletal injuries.
The musculoskeletal system, like every system in our body, benefits from a healthy lifestyle. A well-conditioned body, good nutrition, and healthy habits help strengthen the immune system. Being active helps lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels which also help fight off MSD. Stretching regularly is another good habit to pick up. Stretching keeps your muscles, tendons, and ligaments flexible.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Our muscles need vitamins, minerals, water, protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats so they can function at their best. Maintaining a healthy weight is also very important for keeping your body aligned. A lack of alignment can cause undue stress on discs, bones, ligaments, and tendons, which can lead to MSD. Your muscles are made up of around 70 percent water, so make sure you drink at least eight tall glasses of water a day to stay well hydrated.
Maintain Good Posture
Good posture reduces the amount of strain on individual muscles groups and helps keep muscles toned. Any posture that requires the body to move out of the neutral posture range is considered to be awkward posture and can be harmful to your musculoskeletal system. Keep your work within 14 to 18 inches of your body, depending on your height. Also, avoid reaching overhead or behind your back, if you can. If you can’t, return to neutral as soon as possible. Your current posture could be overworking your body. With a little adjustment, however, you can correct most posture problems.
Adequate sleep protects the immune system, repairs cells, and makes us feel better. Sleep is beneficial to our bodies, but did you know it can improve skeletal health? During sleep our bodies have the chance to repair and build new tissue which can strengthen our musculoskeletal systems.
Be aware of the MSD risks in your workplace and do your part to make a difference in the statistics. How are you working to change the MSD statistics? Share with us in the comment section below.