Signs and Symptoms of Intervertebral Disc Disease and Musculoskeletal Disorder – Musculoskeletal System Example

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"Signs and Symptoms of Intervertebral Disc Disease and Musculoskeletal Disorder" is an excellent example of a paper on the musculoskeletal system. One important aspect of professional nursing practice is the ability to make the right diagnosis to identify the exact problem that a patient may be suffering from. This is because it is only when the right health problem or disease is identified that the right form of intervention and treatment can be given. There have been cases where problems described by patients have been very similar in nature. In such a situation, it is important to compare and contrast symptoms very carefully to come up with the exact problem.

The situation of the 36-year-old patient who is reported to be suffering low back pain for two weeks after lifting a heavy object is a typical example. To understand the patient’ s situation well, a comparison will be made between possible signs and symptoms of the intervertebral disc disease and musculoskeletal disorder, with their possible treatments. Possible Signs and Symptoms with Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) and Musculoskeletal Disorder (MSD) For patients with IVDD, most of the signs and symptoms that are exhibited are at the neck and head area.

One of these includes reluctance on the part of the patient to move the neck and head (Vincent & Hocking, 2013). Instead of moving the whole body, the patient is much likely to be seen moving the eyes in order to see a thing in another direction. There are others who would also move their whole bodies instead of moving the neck and head. The part of the head that must particularly be looked out for is the lower head.

The main reason for which there is a reluctance to move the neck and head is that the patient experience so much pain in these areas and any attempt to move causes much pain. There are also times that other areas such as the back, abdomen, and legs would have to be on the lookout. As far as the back is concerned, patients with IVDD experience back pain, which leads to stiffness in the back. Resultantly, the patient is very likely to make a sudden painful noise when moving or when is touched (Roffey et al. , 2010).

Chances that the patient will experience arched back are high with IVDD. This will lead to the patient taking a hunched posture due to the pain experienced while straightening the back. There have also been reports of abdominal tenderness or tenseness in some patients. Weakness in the leg leading to stiffness in the leg and dragging of the leg while walking is also likely. Possible signs and symptoms in MSD are slightly different from what is experienced in IVDD. One of the major causes of differences is due to the locations of pain involved in both situations.

For example, MSD has been noted to affect such areas of the body as the neck, shoulders, hips, knees, wrists, feet, back, and legs (Kerr et al. , 2011). Because of this, the signs and symptoms expected are often scared in MSD. This is unlike IVDD where the most concentration of symptoms is in the neck, head, and leg areas. Patients with MSD are likely to experience a limited range of motion including walking and lifting (Roffey et al. , 2010).

As with IVDD, the cause of the limitation in motion is caused by the level of pain that the patient experiences. Consequently, the range of motion during walking and lifting will be determined by the degree of pain that is felt. Patients with MSD are also very much likely to experience recurrent pain in the specific area of the body where the disease point is. This could be any of the parts of the body discussed earlier. MSD, unlike IVDD also comes with much attention on the joints, as the joints may get stiff and painful.

Where pain persists in joint areas, it is likely that swelling will be experienced at the joint (Rostykus & Mallon, 2013). Dull aches are also likely in patients with IVDD.   Variations in treatment vary between IVDD and MSD Each of the cases of IVDD and MSD requires treatment, which has to come at very early times from the moment diagnosis establishes the exact problem that customers may be suffering from. This is because delayed forms of treatment could lead to major complications for patients (Kerr et al. , 2011).

This notwithstanding, not the same form of treatment may be used in patients with IVDD as it would be given to those with MSD. Very logically, there will be variations in the treatment given as there are differences in the possible signs and symptoms exhibited by the patients in each case. Between IVDD and MSD, one major difference that determines the level of treatment given is that IVDD could be more catastrophic to the health of the patient and may lead to other complications in other organs of the patient, including the brain (Vincent & Hocking, 2013).

Generally, however, treatment for MSD has taken a mild form as such risks with extended effects are not known. Treatment for IVDD is largely dependent on the disc in question, where the severity of the pain will also determine whether medical management will be sufficient to treat the situation or a medical surgery will be required. For patients who have lost total mobility, the indication is that they have had their brains affected by the situation and so would require no other form of treatment than surgery (Kerr et al. , 2011).

Where there is mobility in the patient, the indication is that the brain has not been disconnected from the body’ s function. Consequently, pain management that focuses largely on control of inflammation would be the first form of treatment (Vincent & Hocking, 2013). One other peculiar figure about treatment for IVDD is the need to recommend extensive rest for the patient after treatment, whether surgery was used or pain management. Such periods of rest ensure that the healing process that should take place for the patient can be completely finalized in order to reestablish the patient to normal mobile activity. In patients with MSD, there some variations that come with treatment.

The variations are largely dependent on the point of pain and the severity of pain. For example, physical exercises and the use of over-the-counter medications have largely been prescribed for patients with MSD. It would be noted that the use of such forms of physical exercise is not advised as a treatment in IVDD.

It must be emphasized however that physical exercise and over-the-counter drugs are advised in the case of occupational pain. The medications, including ibuprofen and acetaminophen, have however been advised never to be taken without a doctor’ s approval (Rostykus & Mallon, 2013). Physical therapy and occupational therapy are also recommended for patients with MSD. Such therapies are given to patients so that they can on their own learn the technique of dealing with pain. In cases where inflammation is established, prescription medications may be advised as a form of relieving inflation and pain. Conclusion and Recommendation The paper has clearly indicated that even though patients may experience pain in the same area of the body that may suggest a number of disorders, it takes thorough diagnosis and scrutiny to understand what exactly the problem is.

To do this, signs and symptoms have to be considered. From the symptoms exhibited by the patient, MSD could be the most likely problem, given that the pain has been recurring for two weeks. Treatment for MSD must accordingly be advised. Even though the discussion has indicated that treatment for MSD may not be as thorough and urgently demanding as that of IVDD, it is still very important that health practitioners act on the complaints as quickly as possible.

This is because there are some risk factors in the reported case of the patient, which if not addressed could bring consequential effects. One of these is the fact that the patient is 36 years old. The patient has well-developed bones and joints and would therefore immediate treatment to prevent permanent damage.


Kerr, M. S. et al. (2011). Biomechanical and psychosocial risk factors for low back pain at work. American Journal of Public Health, 91(7), 1069-1075

Roffey, D. M. et al. (2010). Causal assessment of awkward occupational postures and low back pain: results of a systematic review. Spine Journal: Official Journal of the North American Spine Society, 10(1), 89-99.

Rostykus, W., Ip, W., & Mallon, J. (2013). Musculoskeletal disorders. Professional Safety, 58(12), 35-42.

Vincent, R., & Hocking, C. (2013). Factors that might give rise to musculoskeletal disorders when mothers lift children in the home. Physiotherapy Research International, 18(2), 81-90.

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