National Occupational Research Agenda for Musculoskeletal Disorders


January 2001
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 2001-117
Cover of Publication 2001-117

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSD), such as low back pain, tendinitis, hand-arm vibration syndrome and carpal tunnel syndrome, account for a major component of the cost of work-related illness in the United States. Recent estimates of the costs associated with work-related musculoskeletal disorders range from $13 to $54 billion annually. Regardless of the estimate used, the problem is large both in health and economic terms. The enormous scope of the problem is confirmed by statistics from the Annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). For those cases involving days away from work, BLS reports that in 1997 approximately one third of the total, or 603,096 cases, were the result of overexertion or repetitive motion.

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Page last reviewed: June 6, 2014