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Report launch – State of musculoskeletal health 2018

State of MSK health 2018 - lady walking in a park

Arthritis and related conditions, such as back pain and osteoporosis, affect 17.8 million people across the UK. They are the single biggest cause of pain and years lived with disability in the UK, resulting in 30.8 million working days lost each year.

Arthritis Research UK are committed to building our understanding and awareness of the burden and impact of musculoskeletal conditions in the UK. We are delighted to announce the launch of the State of Musculoskeletal Health 2018. The compendium, updated annually, is an important resource providing the best available picture of the most prevalent musculoskeletal conditions in the UK. It is a resource for health professionals, policy makers, public health leads and anyone interested in musculoskeletal health.

The burden of musculoskeletal illness can be defined by the number of people affected by a condition and at risk of developing the disease, but also by its wider impact. Musculoskeletal conditions can have a significant impact both on a personal and societal level. An individual’s home life, relationships and work can all be affected, causing repercussions for society and the wider economy, for example through the cost of treatment or lost productivity.

The report is divided into five main sections:

1. What is the scale of the problem

2. Key factors affecting musculoskeletal health

3. What is the impact?

4. Economic benefits of musculoskeletal research

5. Condition specific statistics (incl. prevalence, risk factors, comorbidities, and impact)

We believe that with the best information you can build awareness, make informed decisions, feel more confident and ultimately help more people with musculoskeletal conditions. If you have any questions about the document, please get in touch with us at

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