Bone and Joint


Firefighters have high rates of musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries as result of overexertion and heavy biomechanical loads. Bone and joint problems can occur due to acute physical injury, exposure to traumatic events, aging, or gradual cumulative stresses.

For Firefighters: Prevention and Management of MSK Injuries

Emergency Services Ergonomics and Wellness
Authors: U.S. Fire Administration
Published: 2020
Description: A handbook on how to develop an ergonomic and wellness program that will help reduce musculoskeletal injuries in firefighters.
Read handbook

Back Injuries and the Fire Fighter
Authors: International Association of Fire Fighters
Description: Background information on the anatomy of the back, common causes for low back pain, risk factors, and treatment options.
Read article

4 Exercises To Strengthen the Back and Manage Firefighter Back Pain
Published: 2016
Description: Four exercises/stretches (side plank; flexion, extension, hardstyle plank) to manage back pain.
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A New Way to Lift
Authors: The Firefighters Support Foundation (FSF)
Published: 2010
Description: This 20-minute video seminar presents the principles of Tai Chi and other eastern disciplines as well as the principles of sound biomechanics to lifting heavy objects from the odd positions that firefighters encounter every day.
View video

Back Injuries and the Fire Fighter
Authors: Firefighting in Canada
Published: 2008
Description: An article on the need for fire departments to have back injury prevention programs and a set return-to-work protocol.
Read article


General: Work Accommodation for MSK Injuries

Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WMSD) – Guide and Tools for Modified Work
Authors: Tools for Modified Work research group (led by Dr. Susan Stock)
Published: 2005
Description: An evidence-based guide and decision aid to help workplaces implement modified work programs for workers with WMSD.
Download WMSD guide [PDF]


General: Prevention of MSK Injuries

Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD) Prevention Guidelines for Ontario
Authors: The Centre of Research Expertise for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders (CRE-MSD), University of Waterloo
Published: 2018
Description: An update of the prevention guidelines and toolboxes on reducing risks of MSD in the workplace that was developed  in 2005-2006 by the Occupational Safety and Health Council of Ontario (OSHCO).
View guidelines: click here


General: Management of MSK Injuries and Disorders

Arthritis in the Workplace
Authors: The Arthritis Society
Published: 2015
Description: A guide to help you deal with arthritis in the workplace.
Download guide

Joint Matters at Work Checklist
Authors: The Arthritis Society
Published: 2014
Description: Checklists to help deal with arthritis and MSK disorders at the workplace.
Download checklists

Should I Receive Manual Therapy and Exercise for My Neck Pain? A Patient Decision Aid
Authors: Jordan Miller,Anita Gross, Joy MacDermid, McMaster University
Published: 2012
Description: An evidence-based decision aid to help patients make decisions about treatment for their neck pain.
Should I receive manual therapy and exercise for my neck pain? A patient decision aid

Physicians’ Low-Back Pain Tool Kit
Authors: Physicians of Ontario Collaborating for Knowledge Exchange and Transfer
Published: 2005, revised 2009
Description: A tool kit to help physicians manage acute and chronic low-back pain.
Download tool kit

Cochrane Back Review Group (CBRG) QuickDecks: The best evidence in back and neck pain care
Authors: Cochrane Back Review Group (CBRG)
Description: Summary slides on the research evidence for various treatment and prevention measures for back and neck pain.
Download QuickDecks