Benefits | Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WMSDs) Interventions

Health benefits to prevent WMSDs1-7

Employee health benefits are part of an overall compensation package and affect an employee’s willingness to seek preventive services and clinical care.

Encourage prevention of impairment and disability from WMSDs through health care management strategies and policies

  • Employers, employees, and health care professionals working together can enhance a workplace ergonomics program by creating an environment that encourages early detection, treatment, and timely recovery from work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD)
    • Employers can provide education and training to employees on signs and symptoms of WMSDS and encourage early reporting and prompt evaluation by health care providers
    • Employers can also give health care providers the opportunity to become familiar with jobs and job tasks associated with the workplace
    • Employees should follow proper workplace safety and health rules and procedures
    • Health care providers should be experienced and trained in evaluating and treating WMSDs and ensure employee privacy and confidentiality to the fullest extent permitted by law

Provide education to employees regarding worker compensation and disability benefits

  • Employers can educate employees regarding worker compensation and disability benefits, including available protections and accommodations covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act

Health benefits that support physical activity are important in managing arthritis

  • Research has shown that physical activity decreases pain, improves function, and delays disability for persons with arthritis
  • The health benefits strategies and interventions listed for physical activity (e.g., subsidizing gym memberships) can be promoted to individuals with arthritis

1.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Elements of ergonomic programs: a primer based on evaluations of musculoskeletal disorders. 1997. DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 97-117. Available from:

2.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Targeting arthritis: improving quality of Life for more than 46 million Americans, At-A-Glance 2008. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2008.

3.  Dunlop DD. Risk factors for functional decline in older adults with arthritis. Arthritis Rheum 2005;52:1274–82.

4.  Shih M, Hootman JM, Kruger J, Helmick CG. Physical Activity in Men and Women with Arthritis: National Health Interview Survey, 2002. Am J Prev Med 2006; 30(5):385–393.

5.  Penninx BW, Messier SP, Rejeski WJ, et al. Physical exercise and the prevention of disability in activities of daily living in older persons with osteoarthritis. Arch Intern Med 2001;161:2309–16.

6.  Westby MD. A health professional’s guide to exercise prescription for people with arthritis: a review of aerobic fitness activities. Arthritis Rheum 2001;45:501–11.

7.  Thomas KS, Muir KR, Doherty M, Jones AC, O’Reilly SC, Bassey EJ. Home-based exercise programme for knee pain and knee osteoarthritis: randomised controlled trial. BMJ 2002;325:752.