Musculoskeletal Disorders

Signs and Symptoms

MSDs affect the body’s movement and are caused by injury to and/or overuse of muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, discs and joints. A person may be born with a MSD or may develop one due to injury. MSDs can also be caused by tasks in the workplace that place repetitive strain on the body. This can include carpal tunnel, tendonitis, arthritis, sprains or strains. Other common conditions include;

Intervertabral Disc Disorder or Herniated Disc - When the discs between the spinal bones deteriorate or slip due to injury or the fluid within the discs drying out. Spinal discs absorb impact between the vertebrae, helping your back bend and twist hence the disorder can cause pain, numbness and reduced flexibility.

Fibromyalgia - Is a chronic pain condition where the individual experiences locational tenderness, fatigue, and cognitive disruptions. The condition is likely to fluctuate due to the brain and nerves misinterpreting pain signals.

Scoliosis - Is a sideways curvature of the spine caused by growth spurts or conditions such as muscular dystrophy. The condition causes pain and discomfort for the individual.

For additional resources and support, visit Healthline

Affect on Daily Life at Work

» Each person’s experiences of pain and fatigue can vary day to day, reducing their ability to complete tasks like lifting, writing, standing etc.
» Their speed and mobility can vary depending on their degree of pain

» Prolonged symptoms can result in fatigue affecting their ability to focus.

Workplace Support

» Ensure you communicate with your employee, understand their specific condition and its effects on their body
» Regularly seek updates on fluctuations in their health or how seasonal conditions are affecting them

» Consider if they have any physical restrictions such as lifting or performing repetitive tasks and if they require additional breaks from sitting or standing.
» Accomodate for appointments such as physical therapy

» Regularly review their workplace adjustments to ensure they are still effective
» Consider allocated parking spaces for individuals with mobility restrictions

12% of the total disease burden in Australia was due to musculoskeletal conditions

Australian Institute of Health & Wellness


After taking time away from the workforce to raise her family, Selina struggled to find a job. Facing a MSD, depression and homelessness, she came to Castle to rebuild her skills and gain confidence when applying for jobs.

“it’s not that I didn’t want to work, it’s just that no one would give me a shot to show them that I was eager and wanted to make a difference to in their business.”

To gain experience, Selina undertook work placement in reception at the Castle’s Newcastle office. Selina impressed the Newcastle team so much that she was given a part-time role. Selina says there’s not one area of her life that hasn’t improved from getting a job.