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What is a work-related musculoskeletal disorder?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is part of the Department of Labor, a work-related musculoskeletal disorder is a disorder or a disease brought on by a bodily reaction, repetitive motion or overexertion, targeting the muscular system and the skeletal system.

Examples of these include things like climbing, bending, twisting, crawling and reaching. It's important to note that things like falls or trips do not fall under this umbrella term—though they can cause their own injuries. A WMSD is more of an issue brought on over time by a worker who has to do the same thing over and over again, putting strain on a specific part of the body.

So, when a worker has to do these things and is injured, what is the injury going to look like? It could take many forms, but some of the most common examples include:

-- Sprains to wrists, ankles, knees and elbows.-- Strains of the same, often to joints.-- Tears, such as a full or partial tear of a ligament; one of the most devastating is the tearing of the ACL or MCL—or both—in the knee.-- Chronic back pain and soreness.-- Carpal tunnel syndrome.-- A hernia.

Again, these are just a few examples, and this is definitely not an exhaustive list. Additionally, the degree of damage to one worker could be far different than the degree suffered by another worker, even when the root cause is the same injury.

A work-related musculoskeletal disorder can be very serious, and it's important for those who are suffering from such a disorder in Illinois to know just what rights they may have to compensation.

Source: CDC, "Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WMSD) Prevention," accessed Dec. 22, 2015

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