Musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions are a group of conditions that affect the bones, joints, muscles and spine, and are a common cause of severe long-term pain and physical disability. There are 4 main groups of MSK conditions:
- inflammatory conditions, for example, rheumatoid arthritis
- conditions of MSK pain, for example, osteoarthritis and back pain,
- injury to bones, muscles and ligaments
- osteoporosis and fragility fractures, for example, a fracture aftera fall from standing height
Each year, 20% of people in the UK see a doctor about a MSK problem. There are multiple risk factors that can heighten people’s susceptibility to MSK problems – these include physical inactivity, being overweight or obese, diets deficient in vitamin D or calcium, smoking, older age and genetic predisposition to some MSK conditions.
There are many things that people can do for themselves to reduce or manage their musculoskeletal risks, such as:
- NHS.UK has a range of information and support to help people get and keep fit
- One You has information and support to helppeople stay active
- Active 10 app helps individuals build 10 minutes of brisk walking into their routine
- detailed exercise sheets and video clips for patients are available from Versus Arthritis
- maintain independence, stay healthy and active at all ages
- falls and fractures: consensus statement and resources pack
Where people require clinical support, access to services is via your own GP initially. MSK community services are provided by Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.
Their teams include a range of clinicians including experienced physiotherapists and GPs who will take the time to understand your problem. They can offer a range of options which may include exercise, exercise classes, manual therapy, electrotherapy and acupuncture. They also provide clinical assessment for the majority of orthopaedic surgical pathways.