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If you hadn’t read this title and someone asked you, “What is the top cause of musculoskeletal injury in the workplace?” what would your reply be? Chances are you would have said repetitive motion injuries.

Overexertion injuries top the list of workplace related musculoskeletal disorders reported in 2016 in regards to the data from the 2013 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For comparison, in 1998 the Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index reported from the BLS overexertion injury cost approximately $9.8 billion dollars. For 2013 they reported an estimated cost of $15 billion dollars. Compared to the estimate for repetitive motion injuries costing approximately $1.8 billion dollars in 2013.

There are differences in the two terms and how injuries are classified and recorded. Repetitive motion injuries are just that, injuries caused by repeatedly performing a specific motion as a part of a task. The term doesn’t necessarily take in to account force applied to the motion, but it is thought that continuous use causes excessive strain on the tissues leading to swelling and ultimately pain or neurologic symptoms. Read more

Sprains and strains are injuries to tissue typically attributed to overexertion or traumatic type injuries. The names differ due to the type of tissue involved in the injury.

A sprain is an injury involving a ligament. Ligaments are tough connective tissue bands that connect bone to bone. These tissues hold the joints together throughout the body. The most common, and the one people are most familiar with is an ankle sprain.

A strain is an injury involving the muscle or tendon. The muscle is the contractile portion responsible for creating motion. The tendon is the terminal fibrous component of the muscle, which attaches it to the bone. Most commonly and familiar is a strain of the low back. Read more