Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) can affect the body's muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments and nerves. Most work-related MSDs develop over time and are caused either by the work itself or by the employees' working environment. MSD's can also occur in the patients life outside work either through sport - tennis (elbow); music - guitar playing or a hobby - on-line tracing of a family tree. These external work events can be exacerbated by their daily profession. They can also result from fractures sustained in an accident. Typically, MSDs affect the back, neck, shoulders and upper limbs; less often they affect the lower limbs.
Health problems range from discomfort, minor aches and pains, to more serious medical conditions requiring time of MSDs are a priority for the EU in its Community strategy. Reducing the musculoskeletal load of work is part of the 'Lisbon objective', which aims to create 'quality jobs' by:
enabling workers to stay in employment; and
ensuring that work and workplaces are suitable for a diverse population.