Tackling conditions that have a massive impact on society

To mark the start of Bone and Joint Week, the Chair of the Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance highlights the impact of these conditions on people and society and why we must improve the way we deal with Musculoskeletal (MSK): 

According to Latin writer Publilius Syrus “Good health and good sense are two of life’s greatest blessings” and, certainly, we would agree there is some truth in this.

It is also true that good musculoskeletal health is fundamental to good health and living a full life. Yet the statistics paint a picture of the nation’s musculoskeletal health that is sobering.

We know that:

  • Musculoskeletal conditions are the largest cause of disability in the UK, affecting nearly everyone at some point.
  • Musculoskeletal conditions cause pain and affect daily activities such as working, walking, climbing stairs, cooking and personal hygiene.
  • Musculoskeletal conditions are a leading cause of people’s inability to work. In 2016, 30.8million days of sickness absence could be attributed to musculoskeletal conditions including back, neck and upper limb problems and 22% of all working days lost. [Source: Labour Force Survey, ONS, 2016]
  • 1 in 5 GP visits is for a musculoskeletal condition.
  • There are over 200 musculoskeletal conditions including arthritis, back and neck pain, osteoporosis and fragility fractures, and injuries related to work and sport.
  • 10 million people and 15,000 children have arthritis in the UK.

This is why from today until 20th October 2017 the musculoskeletal community is marking Bone and Joint Week, to improve the way we deal with the bone, joint and muscle health at a national, local and individual level to tackle the enormous impact of musculoskeletal conditions on people and society.

You can support Bone and Joint Week 2017 by following the campaigns of the Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance and its members to encourage your communities to learn more about good bone, joint and muscle health.

Looking after musculoskeletal health helps people live well, independently and actively. Certainly, Publilius would agree that there’s some good sense in that.

Professor Anthony Woolf

Professor Anthony Woolf is Chair of the Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance (ARMA).

He is Honorary Professor of Rheumatology, University of Exeter Medical School, and Plymouth Peninsula Medical and Dental College, and Clinical Director of the NHS National Institute of Health Research Clinical Research Network Southwest Peninsula.

He is involved in various initiatives to raise awareness of the impact of musculoskeletal conditions and priority for education, prevention, treatment and research at a national, European and global level.

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