Work-Related Injuries – Upper Back

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders of the upper extremities are quite common and occur in nearly all types of work situations. Each year direct Workers’ Compensation costs due to these types of injuries are over $2 billion, plus an additional $90 million in indirect costs.

The highest rate of disorder was found in industry workers whose jobs required them to repeat the same type of forceful motion throughout their work shift, such as food processors, automobile and electronics assemblers, carpenters, office data entry workers, cashiers, and garment workers.

Most often, disorders affect the soft tissues of the neck, shoulder, elbow, hand, wrist, and fingers. The disorders can develop gradually, resulting from repeated actions and the twisting and bending of the hand, wrist and arms combined with force.

To better understand the activities which significantly contribute to work-related injuries, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a division of the Center for Disease Control, reviewed over 40 epidemiological studies, and formulated a correlation between posture, repetition, force, and vibration, and work-related injuries in the upper extremities and lower back.

The NIOSH study determined posture, repetition and force were each significant risk factors in developing a work-related musculoskeletal disorder. Vibration was also a significant risk factor in developing conditions in the hand and wrist. However, in most instances, it was a combination of risk factors that proved to have the most impact.

Common injuries associated with the neck and shoulder area include:

  • Tension-Neck Syndrome
  • Rotator Cuff Tendinitis
  • Shoulder Impingement Syndrome
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

For more information about work-related injuries of the upper back, please call (918) 494-AOOK (2665).