Researchers to design intervention for work-related injury

March 01, 2004

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases has awarded Temple University researchers a $1.7 million grant to determine whether intervention can prevent work-related injury from developing into a chronic disability.

The scientists, Ann Barr, PhD, Mary Barbe, Ph.D., and Brian Clark, Ph.D., from the department of physical therapy in Temple's College of Health Professions, and Fayez Safadi, Ph.D., from the department of anatomy and cell biology in Temple's School of Medicine, will examine the effects of ergonomic and pharmaceutical interventions in the secondary prevention of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) in a rat model.

Repetitive tasks that are common during the work day, such as reaching, lifting and typing, can lead to injury and disability, or WMSDs. In the United States, WMSDs, including carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis, cost employers $20 billion per year in direct worker's compensation expenses and additional costs in lost productivity.

Although preventing the damage from happening in the first place, or primary intervention, would be ideal, typically patients don't report WMSDs to their doctors until they are experiencing symptoms and damage already has been done. Secondary intervention occurs after a disorder has developed and is designed to stop the condition from becoming chronic. According to principal investigator Ann Barr, PT, Ph.D., associate professor of physical therapy, "Because there are still so many questions about the underlying conditions, there's uncertainty about the best type of treatment. As a result, sufferers are often prescribed a package of treatments, including physical therapy, ergonomics and medication, and we're not sure which treatment is actually working.

"We're proposing a combination of NSAIDs, which are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and aspirin; and ergonomics, which involves adjustment of the workspace to ease pressure and force on the body. While such treatments are common, we're not certain that they actually heal tissue. We need to tease out the effectiveness of each treatment alone. This will help us to refine treatment and save people from further pain and disability," said Barr.

This five-year study builds on a body of work the researchers have been conducting since 1998. Most recently, in pre-clinical studies, the group discovered that repetitive tasks do in fact cause nerve, bone and muscle damage, an issue disputed by experts. Specifically, they found that work-related carpal tunnel syndrome develops through mechanisms that include injury, inflammation, fibrosis and subsequent nerve compression.
-end-


Temple University

Related Disability Articles from Brightsurf:

Raising the bar on disability care
Encouraging paid workers to employ the 'right kind' of respectful personal relationship with young people with disability will lift standards in the sector, experts say.

Keep moving to prevent major mobility disability
According to research, being physically inactive is the strongest risk factor for disability as we age.

How gene mutation causes autism and intellectual disability
Scientists have discovered why a specific genetic mutation causes intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder in children.

Is disability a risk factor for miscarriage?
A new study compared the proportion of women with any cognitive, physical, or independent living disability who experienced a miscarriage during the previous 5-year period to women without disabilities.

'Climate change is a disability rights issue'
In a high-profile Letter in Science, University of Konstanz climate scientist and ecologist Dr Aleksandra Kosanic, an Associate Fellow of the University of Konstanz's Zukunftskolleg, draws attention to the fact that disabled populations have, until now, been absent from international conversations about climate change and its impact.

Predicting frailty, disability and death
In a study led by investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital, researchers analyzed patterns of movement among elderly study participants and found that irregular, spontaneous fluctuations could predict a person's risk of frailty, disability and death years later.

Movement patterns predict frailty and disability in the elderly
Elderly people who show more random changes in daily movement tend to be at greater risk of frailty, disability and death, according to a large study involving 1,275 individuals over the course of 13 years.

IQSEC1 gene mutations cause new intellectual disability syndrome
Researchers identify gene causing intellectual disability syndrome that is common in countries where consanguineous marriages are prevalent.

Best medications to reduce drooling for those with developmental disability
A new study has revealed the most effective medications to reduce drooling in young people with a developmental disability, which can affect their socialisation, relationships and community life.

Obesity worsens disability in multiple sclerosis
Obesity is an aggravating factor in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, the most common form of the disease.

Read More: Disability News and Disability Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.