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RESOURCES: Musculoskeletal Disorders and Smoking

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  • RESOURCES: Musculoskeletal Disorders and Smoking

    These resources regarding a relationship between musculoskeletal disorders
    and smoking may be of interest to the members of this discussion group.

    First a definition of musculoskeletal disorders:

    Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders,
    Oregon, 1990-2000
    by Mike Maier and Juli Ross-Mota

    Musculoskeletal disorders are sometimes called ergonomic injuries and
    illnesses. Ergonomics is the study of the worker's interaction with tools,
    equipment, environment, jobs, tasks, work methods, work rates, and other
    systems. The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has defined
    musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) as injuries and disorders to muscles,
    nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilage, and spinal discs. MSDs do
    not include injuries resulting from slips, trips, falls, or similar
    accidents. Examples of MSDs include many kinds of sprain and strain,
    carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, sciatica, and low back pain. MSDs
    result from bodily reactions due to bending, climbing, crawling, reaching,
    or twisting, and from overexertion and repetitive motion. All statistics
    cited in this report are based on the BLS definition of MSDs.

    OSHA has a repetitive strain injury information page that will provide a
    substantial body of information regarding the repetitive strain area of
    musculoskeletal disorders.

    Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)

    > RSI Background info and resources
    > Prevention and Treatment
    > Exercises and Stretches
    > Disorders Related to RSI
    > Bursitis
    > Carpal Tunnel
    > Epicondylitis
    > Tendonitis
    > Trigger Finger

    The above page provides a substantial body of useful links.

    This page leads to more in depth information on Musculoskeletal Disorders

    Musculoskeletal Disorders Clinical Resources

    As does this page:


    With these background resources, here are some sources that consider the
    relationship between Musculoskeletal Disorders and smoking:
    Smoking Linked with Reports of Musculoskeletal Disorders
    A DGReview of :"Smoking and musculoskeletal disorders: findings from a
    British national survey."
    Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases (ARD Online)
    By Anne MacLennan

    Link Reported Between Smoking and MSDs
    January 20, 2003
    from: Ergonomics Today

    A recent study by researchers at the University of Southampton, England,
    suggests a possible link between musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and
    cigarette smoking in both current and former smokers.

    Published in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases, the study of nearly 13,000
    smoking and non-smoking respondents ages 16 to 64, looked at pain in the
    low back, neck, and upper and lower limbs during the preceding year.
    Questions were also asked regarding smoking habits, physical activities at
    work, headaches, tiredness and stress. The goal of the study was to
    determine whether or not a link existed between MSDs and cigarette

    OSHA Postpones MSD Definition, Creates Alliance, and Announces Meeting
    Date for NACE
    January 13, 2003

    Smoking and musculoskeletal disorders: findings from a British national
    Ann Rheum Dis 2003 Jan;62(1):33-6
    Source: Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, 2002-12-27
    Author: Palmer KT, Syddall H, Cooper C, Coggon D.

    Intro: CONCLUSIONS: There is an association between smoking and report of
    regional pain, which is apparent even in ex-smokers. This could arise from
    a pharmacological effect of tobacco smoke (for example, on neurological
    processing of sensory information or nutrition of peripheral tissues);
    another possibility is that people with a low threshold for reporting pain
    and disability are more likely to take up and continue smoking.

    Low-Back Musculoskeletal Disorders

    Back disorder is multifactorial in origin and may be associated with both
    occupational and nonwork-related factors and characteristics. The latter
    may include age, gender, cigarette smoking status, physical fitness level,
    anthropometric measures, lumbar mobility, strength, medical history, and
    structural abnormalities [Garg and Moore 1992].

    Preventing Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders
    A DoD information Guide for Supervisors and Workers
    June 2000

    This guide is a product of the DoD Ergonomics Working Group
    Visit their web site at

    Preventing Low Back Pain.

    Focus prevention on-

    Reducing exposure to known risk factors such as repetition, awkward
    postures, or stress on muscles, tendons, joints, or the lower spine.

    Conditioning or training the muscles to have a greater tolerance for
    physiological stress.

    Losing weight. Extra pounds, especially around the middle, increase stress
    on the lower back.

    Smoking cessation. Smoking can interfere with blood circulation to the
    lower back, and a constant cough can bring on a back spasm.

    Exercising daily. Choose a sport that is easy on your back such as
    walking, swimming, or bicycling in an upright position.


    Upper Extremity Musculoskeletal Disorders: Occupational Association and a
    Model for Prevention
    John C. Rosecrance and Thomas M. Cook

    Prevention of work related musculoskeletal disorders

    Work factors and musculoskeletal disorders


    I hope that these resources are of use to those concerned about the
    dangers and damage caused by the smoking of cigarettes or other tobacco
    use as well as to those concerned about Musculoskeletal Disorders.

    David Dillard
    Temple University
    (215) 204 - 4584

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