Musculoskeletal system: Musculoskeletal disorders

00:00 / 00:00



Musculoskeletal disorders are disorders of the bones, joints, and the skeletal muscles, affecting movement. Therefore, any daily activity and quality of life is also affected.

They make individuals prone to falls and injuries, and dependant on others’ assistance in everyday life activities. Some of these disorders are osteoporosis, arthritis, and muscular dystrophy.

Osteoporosis is a disorder of the bones that causes them to lose their strength and mass, giving them a porous, or sponge-like, appearance.

This makes them very frail and susceptible to breaking. The most commonly affected bones are of the vertebrae, which can get compressed, leading to a height reduction, back pain, and forward bending of the upper spine, causing a deformity called a dowager’s hump.

Other commonly affected bones are the hip bones, long bones of the extremities, and the wrist bones. Sometimes, the bones might be so fragile that even normal daily activities, like walking down the stairs, can result in a fracture.

Factors that increase clients’ risk for developing osteoporosis include: advanced age; family history of osteoporosis; small stature; diet that lacks calcium and proteins; vitamin D deficiency that decreases calcium absorption from food; eating disorders, like anorexia nervosa; smoking and consuming alcohol.

Other risk factors include immobility; sedentary lifestyle; medications, like corticosteroids; and other conditions, like thyroid dysfunction.

Menopause in biological females is also an important risk factor because there’s decreased production of estrogen: a hormone that has protective effects on the bones.

As a nursing assistant, you should encourage your clients that are at higher risk for osteoporosis to take precautionary measures in order to delay or even prevent its development.


The musculoskeletal system consists of the bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons that support and move the body. Musculoskeletal disorders are any disease that affects this system, such as osteoporosis, fractures, arthritis, aout, muscular dystrophy, etc.

These disorders can cause pain, swelling, stiffness, weakness, and loss of mobility. Treatment for musculoskeletal disorders may include drugs, physical therapy, exercise, and lifestyle modifications. In some cases, surgery may be needed.


Copyright © 2023 Elsevier, its licensors, and contributors. All rights are reserved, including those for text and data mining, AI training, and similar technologies.

Cookies are used by this site.

USMLE® is a joint program of the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME). COMLEX-USA® is a registered trademark of The National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners, Inc. NCLEX-RN® is a registered trademark of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. Test names and other trademarks are the property of the respective trademark holders. None of the trademark holders are endorsed by nor affiliated with Osmosis or this website.