Musculoskeletal disorders affect the human body’s movement or musculoskeletal system. These disorders can affect any major area of the musculoskeletal system, including the neck, shoulders, wrists, back, hips, legs, knees and feet. They range from those that arise suddenly and are short-lived, such as fractures, sprains and strains (acute and trauma-induced) to conditions that can be ongoing (chronic) such as low back pain and osteoarthritis.
Musculoskeletal disorders are the most common cause of severe long-term pain and physical disability and affect hundreds of millions of people around the world. The prevalence of many of these conditions increases markedly with age and is also affected by lifestyle factors such as obesity and lack of physical activity.
Musculoskeletal disorders are typically characterised by pain and limitation in mobility, dexterity and functional ability, reducing people’s ability to work and participate in social roles with associated impacts on mental health, well-being and quality of life.
Pain is the most common symptom of most musculoskeletal disorders. Pain ranges from mild to severe and from acute to chronic and may be local or widespread.
This module discusses several common musculoskeletal disorders that may be encountered in the community pharmacy.