Is musculoskeletal disorder a disability?

Pain  is the most common symptom of most musculoskeletal disorders. Pain ranges from mild to severe and from acute and short-lived to chronic and of long duration and may be local or widespread.

Musculoskeletal pain can be very severe because it affects the body’s bones, ligaments, muscles, and tendons. This type of pain can be felt acutely with severe symptoms or chronically with ongoing symptoms that come and go over time. While many people learn to quietly endure these symptoms, they can become unmanageable and debilitating if left untreated. Fortunately, there are a wide variety of treatment options available for musculoskeletal pain sufferers depending on the source of the pain.

Anyone can experience musculoskeletal pain. It is most often caused by an injury to the bones, joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, or nerves. This can be caused by jerking movements, car accidents, falls, fractures, sprains, dislocations, and direct blows to the muscle. Musculoskeletal pain can also be caused by overuse. Pain from overuse affects 33% of adults. Lower back pain from overuse is the most common work-related diagnosis in Western society. Poor posture can also result in musculoskeletal pain.

What are the symptoms of musculoskeletal pain?

Symptoms of musculoskeletal pain depend on whether the pain is caused by an injury or overuse and whether it is chronic or acute. The symptoms can also differ from person to person. Common symptoms include:

  • Localized or widespread pain that can worsen with movement
  • Aching or stiffness of the entire body
  • The feeling that your muscles have been pulled or overworked
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Twitching muscles
  • The sensation of “burning” in your muscles


  • Age
  • Occupation
  • Activity level
  • Lifestyle
  • Family history
  • Sitting in the same position at a computer every day
  • Engaging in repetitive motions
  • Lifting heavy weights
  • Maintaining poor posture at work

What are the most common musculoskeletal disorders?

  • Tendinitis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
  • Bone fractures
  • Fibromyalgia

How are Musculoskeletal Disorder treated?

When one experiences the above mentioned symptoms, he must see a specialist who would recommend a treatment plan based on the diagnosis and the severity of the symptoms. To address occasional pain, they may suggest moderate exercise and over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. For more severe symptoms, they may prescribe medications to reduce inflammation and pain. In some cases, they may recommend physical therapy, occupational therapy, or both. These therapies can help you learn how to manage your pain and discomfort, maintain your strength and range of motion, and adjust your everyday activities and environments.