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Empowering Women's Musculoskeletal Health: Understanding and Care

by Gurojaspreet Kaur 24 Apr 2024 0 Comments

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) cast a wide net, affecting 1.71 billion individuals globally, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Among these, low back pain stands out as a prevalent concern, contributing to disability across approximately 160 countries. MSDs not only diminish well-being but also restrict mobility, limit social interactions, and often lead to prolonged absence from work. Alarmingly, these conditions frequently coexist with other non-communicable diseases like cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

The musculoskeletal (MSK) system encompasses over 150 conditions, with certain issues disproportionately impacting women compared to men.


While MSDs can affect anyone, certain conditions tend to be more prevalent among specific demographics:

  • Age-related MSDs: With advancing age, the onset of MSK issues becomes increasingly common. Approximately one in three elderly individuals grapple with age-related MSK problems, as the loss of bone and muscle mass accelerates after reaching 40. Sarcopenia, characterized by the loss of muscle mass and strength, begins to manifest in the fourth decade of life. Osteoporosis, a condition marked by diminished bone mineral density and mass, is more prevalent in women during menopause, rendering them susceptible to fractures. Rheumatoid arthritis also emerges as a prevalent MSK condition in older individuals, often stemming from immune system irregularities associated with aging.
  • Sports-related MSDs: Athletes commonly encounter MSDs, including back pain, neck pain, fractures, myalgia, sprains, strains, and dislocations, stemming from their rigorous physical activities.

MSK Disorders Dominant in Women

Several MSDs exhibit a higher prevalence among women:

  • ACL Tear: Women are particularly prone to ACL tears due to their greater joint flexibility and suppleness, coupled with lower muscle volume around the knee. Proper training in landing techniques can mitigate this risk.
  • Osteoporosis: Post-menopausal women face a heightened risk of osteoporosis due to declining estrogen levels, which accelerates bone density loss. Dietary adjustments, regular exercise, and lifestyle modifications can help mitigate this risk.
  • Osteoarthritis: Women are more likely to be affected by osteoarthritis, attributed partly to wider hips and higher obesity rates. Surgical interventions may be necessary in severe cases, necessitating careful post-operative care.
  • Ankle Sprains: Women are more susceptible to ankle sprains, potentially influenced by hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle.

Preventive Measures and Care:

To combat MSDs, individuals can adopt preventive measures such as proper training for athletes, maintaining a healthy diet, regular exercise, smoking cessation, and moderation in caffeine and alcohol consumption. Post-surgery, diligent adherence to medical advice and physiotherapy recommendations is crucial for optimal recovery.

Awareness and Advocacy

Raising awareness about MSDs and preventive measures is imperative to enhance the quality of life for those affected by these conditions. By promoting education and advocating for proactive measures, we can empower individuals to prioritize their musculoskeletal health and lead fulfilling lives free from the burdens of MSDs.

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