Guidance for healthcare professionals on the management of upper limb disorders in working-age people

Ira Madan, John Ballard, Gareth T. Jones, Bran Jones, Kim Burton, Karen Walker-Bone, Juliet Raine, Paul Shawcross, Nadia Sheikh

Research output: Book/ReportOther report


Prevalence of upper limb disorders (ULDs) is very high in the general population, with up to one in two people experiencing symptoms in the neck or arm each week

Symptoms are often recurrent and present in more than one region at a time (adjacent sites or bilaterally)

Most ULDs are difficult to diagnose accurately, however, exact diagnosis does not usually change management

Influencing factors can include prolonged repetitive tasks, awkward postures, sustained or excessive force, lack of suitable rest breaks, use of power tools, and poor organisational or environmental factors. Exposure to these factors does not mean that an individual will develop upper limb pain

Evidence regarding cumulative exposure to repetitive actions and excessive force as causative factors is limited. Therefore, some diagnostic labels, such as “repetitive strain injury” (“RSI”) that suggest that the mechanism of injury is due
to a certain activity and that rest is required to resolve it (10) are generally unhelpful and should be avoided

Although ULDs cause difficulties with normal activities, most workers, for most episodes, with the correct support, should be able to remain at work
Original languageEnglish
PublisherFaculty of Occupational Medicine
Number of pages3
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2023

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