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Musculoskeletal injuries account for a growing share of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses, according to a recent post on the occupational safety and health blog EHS OutLoud. Musculoskeletal injuries went from 29 percent of all workplace injuries in 2010 to 33 percent in 2011. The overall rate of nonfatal work injuries was unchanged over that period.

Six occupations accounted for 26 percent of all musculoskeletal injuries in 2011: nursing assistants, laborers, janitors, truck drivers, registered nurses and stock clerks.

Musculoskeletal injuries are among the most expensive disorders in the United States, costing the American economy up to $55 billion every year. Many result from cumulative trauma or repetitive stress injuries. These injuries occur when a person uses a certain set of muscles continuously over time without rest or uses these muscles the wrong way. Common musculoskeletal disorders include carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, back and neck injuries and arthritis.

A person whose job requires standing or walking for long periods of time may end up suffering from knee and leg-related disorders. Frequent bending, stooping or lifting the arms above the head can result in back or neck pain. Even sitting for long periods of time can increase your risk of developing a musculoskeletal disorder.

Typically, musculoskeletal disorders involve the tendons, nerves, muscles, joints, cartilage, ligaments or spinal discs.

These disorders, though not life-threatening, can severely interfere with a person’s ability to work and may prevent some workers from returning to any jobs at all.

Michael Parsons is an Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer, representing injured workers in the metro Atlanta region and helping them recover the workers’ compensation benefits that they deserve.