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Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention: Protect Yourself from on-the-job Injuries (Part VIII)

Injury Follow-Up

Although most back pain is related to an injury or overexertion, there can be other causes. Back pain can be caused by cancer, cardiovascular disease or abnormalities close to the spine. When pain is associated with the musculoskeletal system, the body is warning us that the area is fragile and prone to an even worse injury if we ignore the warning. Musculoskeletal pain that is persistent or caused by an injury from a significant mechanism requires an evaluation by a health-care specialist. It may necessitate rest, medication and/or physical therapy to resolve the injury.

Every significant pain or injury deserves early medical evaluation and treatment. It's important to be evaluated so a plan for recovery can be designed and the chance for re-injury reduced.

Rehabilitation takes time and physical effort. With busy lives and multiple commitments, it's neither easy nor convenient to allow for the time needed to heal an injury. Also, when a department is short-staffed personnel can feel added pressure to return to work early. However, without proper rehabilitation and the healing time necessary to completely recover, re-injury is almost inevitable.

A second injury to an inflamed and already unstable musculoskeletal structure will most likely be more serious and more painful, and will require a longer leave of absence. In some cases, it can be a career-ending event.

Evaluate Success

A well-researched baseline, written program objectives and measurable evaluation parameters can show if injuries have been reduced. As part of the evaluation process, be sure to poll your staff for their opinion of the program. The willingness of the staff to participate in and support a program will be the strongest evidence that the program should continue.The final component of MSIPP is possibly the most important—program evaluation. Without supporting documentation of success, it will be difficult to get continued funding for your program. In addition, a comprehensive evaluation can further encourage support and identify program improvements.


Despite good posture, weight management and safe lifting practices, there will always be an event that puts the body in an awkward position that doesn't allow for good support of the body's structural integrity. Therefore, it's imperative for the musculoskeletal system to be strong, lean and flexible in preparation for these events.


Source: Barbara Dailey,