Musculoskeletal Conditions and Treatment Options
Our body is made up of a huge number of muscles, bones, and joints. These all come together to allow us to move these fleshy meat bags we call a body. These systems are intricate, precise and really incredible when you think about them.
We tend to take movement without pain for granted. It’s supposed to be the norm. However, the truth is that many people don’t have the luxury (or right) of being able to move around freely and comfortably. Musculoskeletal conditions and disorders (MSD) take our movement away from us.
The effect that having a long-term MSD can be incredibly damaging. It affects your work life. It affects your social life. It affects your hobbies and free time. You’re simply unable to partake of the lifestyle that you had before. It’s not the end of your life, but sometimes it can feel that way.
The thing about musculoskeletal conditions is that they become far more common as we age. In addition to getting older, there are other things that can cause an MSD.
One of the two main factors that everyone deals with when it comes to an MSD is the pain that accompanies it. Depending on the condition, pain can affect any of the following areas:
- Wrists - This is very common for people with carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Neck/Back/Shoulders - These can be the holy trinity when it comes to MSD pain. These areas are very commonly affected by more muscle pain than joint pain, but the inflammation and nerves are very reactive here.
- Hips - Hips have some of the biggest joints in the body. If they are not operating efficiently, it’s very easy for them to become pained.
- Knees and Feet - Again, areas with many joints tend to show more pain because of the nature of an MSD.
There are quite a few different musculoskeletal diseases that can affect people. Here are some of the most common ones.
- Tendinitis - This is a consistent condition where the tendons that keep your muscles and bones connected instead become irritated or swollen. It makes it very painful on anything attached to a tendon.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - Many people think carpal tunnel syndrome is the white collar office injury. However, it’s aggravated and caused by repetitive motions. Essentially it results in constant wrist pain.
- Arthritis - Arthritis in its various forms is typically the most common MSD that people come across. We will go into more detail in Arthritis shortly.
Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are among the most common MSDs. It’s found in a huge number of the population and a consistent problem for them. Arthritis is one MSD that is mainly caused by age. It’s true that if there’s a history of arthritis in a family, they are more likely to receive it.
Arthritis tends to provide constant pain instead of stabbing pains. There are times when it will get worse, however. The inflammation in the joints creates a long-term dull ache that is very difficult to deal with.
Since there is consistent pain in most MSDs, there naturally are treatments available to help reduce the pain of it for people most days. Some of these treatments work for some people and some work for others. Treatment becomes a very individual thing to help deal with the chronic pains.
- Heat/Cold - It’s the classic muscle pain response.
- Immobilization - Using splints or braces can help keep joints from making unnecessary movements. This reduces the potential pain.
- Increased Rest - For those who work with repetitive movements, it’s important to plan out some breaks from those, thus allowing your body to rest more.
- Physical Therapy - There are many people who do physical therapy to help with their MSDs. It’s both a reactive and a preventative treatment at the same time.