Stress and MSDs

Welcome to the next segment of Les Henley’s research into the links between stress and MSD’s.

Under normal conditions, where the individual is not overly stressed, some physical task activities, such as repetitive actions or sustained static loading may lead to minor lesions forming in muscle, tendon or ligament tissues. When the body is healthy these lesions heal fairly quickly and no long term damage is experienced.

However, where an individual perceives a threat or a series of threats to be ongoing the chemical and physiological changes can reach the point of becoming unhealthy. This condition is termed ‘distress’.

There are some situations where this condition of being over-stressed or distressed may lead to other physiological damage due to the combination of stress related internal changes and the nature of work tasks being performed.

  • Arterio/vascular change
    For example, where the blood vessels have been constricted to some muscles and those muscles are involved in work tasks requiring repetitive activity or sustained static loading, damage may be done to muscle structures due to the lack of nutrients and oxygen being provided and/or the build up of toxic waste matters not being cleared away in the muscle cells.
  • Reticular formation change
    Heart rate, blood pressure and respiration changes affect the amount of oxygen supply and waste removal to various parts of the body. Fatigue begins to affect the body when these changes continue for prolonged periods.
  • Immune system change
    Chemicals released to combat infection may begin to attack cells involved in minor lesions causing inflammation and pain.

You’ll find the previous segment of Les’ research in article The Effects of Stress on the Employee.

About the Author

Safety Concepts is an online resource providing up to date insights and covering issues in the field of Workplace Safety.

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