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What are Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs)?
The musculoskeletal system comprises of bony skeleton and connective tissues like cartilage, tendon, ligament, joints and muscles.
The main functions of this system are:
- Provides the body with form and support;
- Protects the delicate internal organs from harm;
- Provides dynamic motion to the body;
- Acts as a reservoir for important nutrients (e.g. calcium and phosphorus are stored in bones);
- Manufactures other important cells (e.g. the bone marrow produces blood cells regularly).
Musculoskeletal system disorders occur when injuries and/or diseases cause pain, and reduce the efficacy and functions of the musculoskeletal system. Some of the most common types of disorders affecting the musculoskeletal system are:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome;
- Rheumatoid Arthritis;
- Bone Fractures;
These disorders are usually a product of ergonomic (e.g. highly repetitive tasks, laborious tasks) and individual risk factors.
What is hyaluronan?
Hyaluronan (also known as hyaluronic acid) is a complex carbohydrate molecule that exists naturally and abundantly in the human body. Over the years, extensive research concluded the importance of this intricate substance in skin hydration and health. Hyaluronan-based products are steadily gaining popularity in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries due to their efficacy and safety.
Hyaluronan for osteoarthritis
Besides being a popular choice of dermal filler material, hyaluronan is also used as an active ingredient in orthopaedic injectables for patients suffering from osteoarthritis. This debilitating and progressive joint degenerating disease occur when articular cartilage—the protective cartilage that covers the ends of a bone in a synovial joint—gets overused and breaks down resulting in reduced production of lubricating synovial fluid. The bones start to grind against each other very painfully causing painful inflammations and loss of mobility.
How do orthopedic injectables work?
Hyaluronan is used as an orthopaedic injectable as the slippery synovial fluid also contains hyaluronic acid. The injectables are designed to share a similar viscoelastic property to the naturally-occurring synovial fluid. Once administered intra-articularly into the synovial space, the viscosupplement lubricates the joints to prevent the bones from rubbing against each other painfully. Injectable gel also cushions the joints from stress and sudden impacts like weight bearing activities. So, debilitating symptoms of osteoarthritis are lessened and patients can enjoy an improved quality of life.
What are the side effects?
Some of the usual side effects are actually post-injection inflammatory responses like pain, swelling, and warmth at treated joints. Patients should rest their treated joints—avoid standing for too long or participating in strenuous activities—to expedite recovery. On the other hand, patients can experience other serious reactions like pronounced inflammation and infections if the procedure is done incorrectly. A thorough assessment of the patient’s medical history (e.g. existing health conditions, allergies, medication and supplements taken) is vital to accurately determine their suitability for treatment.