Workplace Solutions to Back Pain, Shoulder Tendinitis, Tennis Elbow & Other Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD):
Search Icon

Learn about MSD and how to prevent them.

Introduction video 


About MSD

Worker lifting a box and holding his low back area to indicate he is experiencing pain

Musculoskeletal Disorders (or MSD) at work is an umbrella term for a number of injuries and disorders of the muscles, tendons, ligaments, bone and nerves. Many body areas can be affected. The low back is the most commonly affected, followed by the shoulders, neck, elbow, hands and wrists. Other terms with the same meaning as MSD include:

  • Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)

  • Cumulative Trauma Disorder (CTD)

  • Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorder (WMSD)

  • Musculoskeletal Injury (MSK or, MSI), and/or

  • Occupational Overuse Syndrome (OOS)

What is an MSD?

Symptoms of MSD can be different, depending on the specific MSD, but can include:

  • Pain with or without restriction in movement

  • Swelling and tenderness

  • Reduced range of motion and/or stiffness, and

  • Tingling and/or numbness

Workers should talk with their supervisor, manager or business owner about their pain at work and the possible causes. Pain that doesn’t disappear before the start of work the next day or continues over a weekend or results in an even longer break from work, should lead workers to speak up immediately.


MSD prevention site factsheet

What's New?

Welcome to the new MSD Prevention Guideline site. We are working hard to develop it further. Look out for new content, including more "Hazards and Controls" . 


MSD prevention site factsheet

Introduction Factsheet

Download the factsheet introducing the new MSD Prevention Guideline for Ontario.


Sad Face Icons

Success Stories

Read success stories and case studies about preventing MSD. These stories may apply to your workplace and help you make the right decision. 


Question mark

Frequently Asked Questions

There are lots of myths about preventing MSD at work. With good information and actions, MSD can be prevented


Click to view page content references

DISCLAIMER: CRE-MSD receives funding through a grant provided by the Ontario Ministry of Labour. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Province.