Musculoskeletal (MSK) pain has a greater impact on your quality of life than any other health condition. And in most cases, it’s entirely within our control.
Whether you’re a desk worker with back pain, a runner with a bad knee or a grandparent with stiff hips unable to play with your grandkids, MSK pain can disrupt your daily life and stop you from doing the things you love.
There are over 200 different conditions that affect our MSK health. 65% of people in your company are currently suffering from at least one of them. Issues like back pain are rife amongst desk workers, often due to poor ergonomics and habits such as sitting for hours in front of a computer.
What is MSK pain?
Your musculoskeletal system includes muscles, ligaments, bones, tendons and tissues. They work together to support your body’s weight to help you move, maintain posture and go about your daily activities.
Movement is an essential part of daily life and something most of us often take for granted. MSK pain affects the way you move and can be a significant drain on your quality of life. Pain can vary from sudden acute pain which goes away quickly, to chronic pain lasting more than three months.
How can MSK pain impact your quality of life?
Back pain, neck pain, knee pain…whatever you’re suffering with, MSK issues have the potential to inflict long-lasting harm on many aspects of your life:
- Physical health – Prolonged MSK pain can limit your mobility and make daily activities a struggle. Your fitness may suffer, weakening your muscles and trapping you in a long-term cycle of inactivity and pain.
- Mental health – MSK pain and mental health are intrinsically linked. Your mental health can strongly affect your pain, and vice versa. People with chronic pain are four times more likely to develop depression compared to those without pain. Even short term pain can have a big impact on your mood, mental health and overall happiness, affecting your quality of life.
- Work – People with MSK pain are 64% less likely to find their job rewarding and more likely to quit. 2.6% of the global workforce requires time off work for issues like back pain each year, whilst 15% are working below capacity due to MSK pain. In some cases, this dip in productivity and disengagement may even result in loss of employment.
- Relationships – Pain can take a big toll on your physical and mental health, which often directly impacts your relationships and social habits. Chronic pain can stop you from going out to socialise and add extra strain on your relationships. People who take time off work due to MSK pain may lose contact with friends and colleagues in the workplace.
- Financial – Long-lasting MSK issues often carry a financial burden. A study found that individuals who need time off from work due to workplace injuries typically experience a 15% decrease in earnings over the following 10 years. Medical expenses may also rack up over time.
How to look after your MSK health to maintain your quality of life
MSK issues are often considered a normal part of “aging”. Many people accept that they will be faced with certain limitations as they get older, but this simply isn’t true. Whatever age you are, it’s possible to maintain your MSK health with good habits and proactive care.
Here are some simple steps you can take to protect your MSK health for the best quality of life:
- Regular Physical Activity – Exercise is one of the most beneficial things you can do to maintain your physical health. Even a few short bursts of light activity can make a big difference over time. VIDA Pain Coach is a personalised pain management programme with tailored exercises to help you stay active and keep pain at bay.
- Adopt good posture – Poor posture can put extra stress on your musculoskeletal system, leading to pain and injury. Adopting good posture while you sit, stand and exercise will reduce your risk of injury and help you stay pain-free.
Download our handy infographic to learn how to adopt good posture whilst working at a desk.
- Get enough sleep – Sleep is essential for your musculoskeletal health, as it allows your body to repair and regenerate. Aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night to improve your overall wellbeing.
- Healthy diet – A diet that is rich in calcium, vitamin D and other essential nutrients can help keep your bones and joints healthy.
- Improve your workplace setup – 28% of employees are working at a desk with increased MSK health risks, making them more susceptible to issues like back pain. In most cases, these issues can be prevented with small adjustments to your workplace. With VIDA’s AI webcam assessment and interactive desk planner, you can assess your workspace in minutes and receive instant, personalised recommendations to improve your posture and desk setup.
For more information on how VIDA can help you reduce MSK pain and improve your quality of life, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or try out VIDA yourself for free!