Sonographers Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSD)

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSD) are a common cause of pain and injury for ultrasound practitioners. 
Common sites of injuries are ; neck, shoulder, back, arms such as elbow an wrist, fingers, hip.
 Factors influencing ultrasound professionals’ likelihood of developing work-related musculoskeletal disorders include poor posture, repetitive movements, transducer pressure and poor grip, stress, workload, limited support or sense of control and other psychosocial factors. According to SDMS 2018 white paper series, Sonographers should remember that optimising the examination should not be at the detriment of their health.
Common causes of WRMSD in ultrasound practitioners include:
  • Poor and/or static posture
  • Repetitive movements
  • Transducer grip pressure and the use of force
  • Psychosocial factors
  • Workload management issues
Common symptoms of WRMSD include aches and pains, stiffness in the joint, pins and needles sensation, tingling and/or a burning sensation.
Not all ultrasound practitioners are affected by WRMSD, as suggested by the figures quoted in previous studies
Research has found that WRMSD among sonographers was more likely to be unreported and undiagnosed for a variety of reasons, including concerns for their job or a presumption that experiencing pain is a normal part of ultrasound practice.
Fiona K. Marshall  has this to say; “I had to go through WCB for work place injury due to back and neck problems. Physio and my GP said it was absolutely classic repetitive strain injury for sonographers. ( I’ve been scanning 24 years).
But WCB denied the claim on the basis of what their doctor said ie unrelated to scanning( who I never saw but who probably gets a bonus for denying claims).
MRI scan showed neck damage. I am still working full time.
I had acupuncture, muscle relaxants, pain killers and Physio at the time. I use none of those now.
The most helpful thing I find is deep tissue massage therapy bi weekly and yoga.
And of course scanning mindfully. Not pressing with the probe. Not leaning, standing for EV scans, altering position often”.In the words of Oliver Pal, “don’t stand, hydraulic patient table, ice your shoulder in between scans, proper position while scanning, exercise, no more than 10-12 pts per day” in all your scanning

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