Muscoloskeletal disorders: Τhe disease of the….office

By Nektaria Karakosta

Latest studies show that 50% of abstaining from work employees are due to skeletal and rheumatic diseases. Some of these are difficult situations (e.g. autoimmune diseases), others are due to degenerative processes of age, but very often we have injuries or problems resulting from the way of life, the profession, or the physical condition of the individual. Why do we have muscle pain and how can we deal with it? The rheumatologist Mr. Dimitrios Laskos gives us all the answers.


The monotonous repetitive movements, the arduous painful postures, because of  the lack of appropriate equipment and work area, the manual handling of heavy loads, the jobs that require strength or cause vibrations on the joints, are some of the factors that cause muscoloskeletal disorders. The result? One out of three Greeks suffers from a rheumatological or muscoloskeletal disorder, including backache, low back pain, neck pain, disorders of upper limb and inflammation of joints.


Muscoloskeletal disorders cover a wide spectrum of diseases and include disorders of bones, joints, tendons, muscles and nerves that control the muscle system. In North America they are referred as "diseases cumulative trauma", in Australia and the United Kingdom as "injuries of the limbs resulting from repeated distress", in Japan as "cervix-arm syndrome" and in the Nordic countries as "diseases of muscoloskeletal strain".


But why do we refer to muscoloskeletal disorders with the term "disease of  the office"? "That is because people who work at offices due to - usually -  their bad posture and sedentary way of life, but also because of obesity, in which the lack of exercise contributes, show a high frequency pain in the vertebral column (low back pain (in extreme situations lumbago, back pain, etc.) or at the back of the neck. The more obese and unfit someone is, the more likely it is to show muscoloskeletal pain. These people have usually  a lot of workplace stress, which exacerbates their situation," notes Mr Laskos.


When is the doctor needed?

If the problem occurs after a certain action or activity that caused muscular distress, or because of the prolonged stay of the person in a specific position, the visit to the doctor, at least the first few days, can be avoided. If, however, the pain persists for more than a week, then you should consult a doctor.

For the treatment of muscoloskeletal disorders, both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical means are used. "When we talk about muscoloskeletal pain, back pain, low back pain or cervix pain, the treatment includes the avoidance of movement or the position that caused the problem (e.g. not to bend down suddenly or lift weights, etc. ), as well as some exercises-physiotherapies.

The medical part includes simple analgesics, opium analgesics and anti-inflammatory or specific medicines for chronic muscoloskeletal pain. In some cases, even small amounts of cortisone may be used. If, however, the reason of the muscoloskeletal pain comes from an autoimmune disorder (as rheumatoid arthritis) the treatment is completely different and is determined by the rheymatologist", Mr Laskos concludes .



In many cases, stress can be of its own a factor of muscoloskeletal pain. "It is very often, stress and depression to be factors of a chronic pain syndrome, called fibromyalgia ", stresses Mr Laskos.

The treatment of fibromyalgia , according to the specialist, includes two main axis:

Change in the way of thinking and life, in order to combat stress. The patient must learn to manage calmly the problems of everyday life. This is the first and most important step to tackle the muscoloskeletal pain that comes from fiber pain, since the internal pressure the person feels, is the cause of the problem.

> Exercise. While in other muscoloskeletal syndromes, exercise in acute phases usually is avoided, in fibromyalgia is necessary. Preferably swimming or any other exercise the patient likes (e.g. dance, bike), as long as the person eases off.



As Mr Laskos explains, "there is also a category of muscoloskeletal disorders which are autoimmune and these are diseases with which purely a rheumatologist deals with (such as rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondilitis, psoriasis arthritis).  Rheumatoid arthritis is the main cause of pain in joints of hands and feet, while the ankylosing spondilitis occurs mainly with early pain at the waist, without any previous heavy activity. We very often meet young people suffering from intense discomfort at the waist, which they wrongly assume that comes from something that they did, but in fact it cannot be attributed there," explains the rheumatologist.



who is who

Mr. Dimitris Laskos is a Special Rheumatologist with a MASTERs in Metabolic Diseases of Bones and Osteoporosis. Ex Assistant Lecturer at the Rheumatological Clinic KAT Hospital, cand. Doctor of Athens University. He is a Scientific Associate of the Laboratory of Research of the Muscoloskeletal System and the Greek Association of Support for Patients with Osteoporosis. A doctor specialized in dealing with Systematic Autoimmune Disorders, Arthritis, Chronic Muscoloskeletal Pain, Osteoporosis and other Metabolic Diseases of Bones, Osteoarthritis and Low Back Pain (or Lumbago). He owns a rheumatological private practice in both Korinthos and Xylokastro.

Adeimantou 83, Korinthos

Notara 48A, Xylokastro

Contact number: 27410 29332



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