Introduction The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) defines work related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) as a group of disorders involving muscles, tendons and nerves. Symptoms of WMSDs are a common problem in the general population, and are considered the most common occupational disease causing limitations in daily activities. Even though there is an association between repetitive manual tasks, with short work cycles and force demanding tasks with the development of WMSDs, the particular cause of the physiological changes over a long period of time is a cause of debate. The study of the mechanisms underlying the physiological changes is essential for the early detection, diagnosis, and appropriate management of WMSDs.
Methods The study will include 30 healthy college students 18 year old and older with no previous history or exposure to repetitive or forceful tasks within the past eight weeks, and not receiving anti-inflammatory treatment. Participants will perform a manual task for 25 min daily for five days over a period of four weeks. A blood sample will be collected after the completion of the task on the fifth day. Blood serum levels of Interleukin 6 (IL-6), Interleukin 1β (IL-1β), Metalloproteinase 2 (MMP2) and Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) will be measured using commercially available ELISA kits. Weekly levels of the biomarkers will be compared to baseline levels for significant differences.
Results Expected results of the study include an elevated expression of the targeted biomarkers before there is an inflammatory response, and an inflammatory response at the end of the intervention.
Conclusion The results of this study will help having a better understanding of the physiological changes resulting from repetitive manual tasks, and more importantly will provide the basis for the development of a rapid test to assess the risk to trigger an inflammatory response and prevent the development of WMSDs.
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