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What are Pains and Strains / Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs)

  • Issued: December 2009
  • Content last reviewed: December 2009

Pains and strains / MSDs is an umbrella term for a number of injuries and disorders of the muscles, tendons, nerves, etc. Other terms that mean the same as MSDs include:

  • Repetitive strain injury (RSI)
  • Cumulative trauma disorder (CTD)
  • Work-related musculoskeletal disorder (WMSD)
  • Musculoskeletal injury (MSK, MSI) and
  • Occupational overuse syndrome (OOS)

Many body parts can be affected. The back is the most common, followed by the shoulders, neck, elbow, hands and wrists. The symptoms from MSDs generally include:

  • Pain with or without movement
  • Swelling and tenderness
  • Reduced range of motion and/or stiffness and
  • Tingling and/or numbness

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