• The Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance (ARMA) is the umbrella body for the arthritis and musculoskeletal community in the UK, and our mission is to transform the quality of life of people with musculoskeletal conditions. We have 40 member organisations ranging from specialised support groups for rare diseases to major research charities and national professional bodies.


Commissioning musculoskeletal services in England

Read ARMA’s Key Messages for Commissioners

Let’s dispel the myth that “not much can be done” to treat Musculoskeletal disorders

Dr Martin McShane, 13 November 2015.

NHS England’s National Medical Director for Long Term Conditions says a whole system approach is needed for patients with these agonising conditions.

There is hardly a more widespread, expensive set of conditions than musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders, from back pain to osteoporosis to inflammatory arthritis. This is all the more striking given the enormity of their impact.

The latest Global Burden of Disease data shows that not only are they the single biggest cause of the rising burden of disability in this country, but that they are closely associated with a much increased risk of premature death, not to mention associated comorbidities such as depression.

Read more of Dr Martin McShane’s blog post


“What matters most”:
Person-centred co-ordinated care for LTCs

ARMA’s AGM 2015, 9th July.

Our Guest Speaker, Jacquie White, Deputy Director for Long-Term Conditions, shared NHS England’s vision for person-centred, coordinated care in partnership with ARMA.

Download Jacquie White’s slide presentation and audio
from the lecture.

Benefits Survey graph

ARMA Benefits Survey 2014-2015

A survey of people with MSK and who have undertaken disability benefit assessments.

See the results, respondents’ comments and our key findings.

Musculoskeletal and Arthritis News

Arthritis Research UK’s new Spark project

Please help share Arthritis Research UK’s new Spark project in partnership with the Design CouncilArthritis Research UK has launched a new project with the Design Council called the Spark product innovation fund. The project is set up to support the development and design of assistive products that help people living with arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions to live well and for those products to offer additional therapeutic benefit, to help people be independent and in control of their lives as much as possible.Please help us share this new initiative within your online communities and through email newsletters.Shortlisted projects will receive £15,000 ...

Putting people’s priorities first

Arthritis Research UK’s roundtable on musculoskeletal conditions and multimorbidities‘No one has an overview of my conditions’ was Jack’s observation when speaking about his life living with multiple long term conditions including arthritis. Jack was speaking at a packed policy event with charities, policy-makers, clinicians, researchers and people living with multiple long term conditions (multimorbidities) organised by Arthritis Research UK.Musculoskeletal conditions are a major contributor to multimorbidity: 82% of people with osteoarthritis have at least one other long term condition such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease or depression.  The event on 15 October explored the impact of living with multiple long term ...

PSALV at the Scottish Parliament, CPGs and Conferences

Psoriasis Scotland Arthritis Link Volunteers (PSALV) are involved with the PsA Awareness Event in the Scottish Parliament on 4th November at 6pm. Dave Thompson MSP will chair. Professor Iain McInnes will speak and introduce a new DVD in which he features alongside patients living with psoriatic arthritis.There are still places available; if you would like to attend, contact Pagoda PR agency on 0131 556 0770.In recent weeks, Jim Walker has attended several events on behalf of PSALV. He attended the EULAR Patient Research Partner event in Amsterdam. Jim also went to the Alliance Inaugural lecture where Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First ...

Fit for Work UK Coalition and BSR host Parliamentary Summit

On Tuesday 20 October, the Fit for Work UK Coalition and the British Society for Rheumatology hosted a Parliamentary Summit in Westminster. The event saw the launch of several new resources developed to raise awareness and support people with musculoskeletal conditions, including the My plan for my life (pdf document) care co-ordinating guide.Developed by an alliance of organisations working to improve care for people with musculoskeletal conditions, the guide is designed to support and empower people with chronic musculoskeletal conditions to manage their condition better and to feel more in control of their care.Read the 'My Plan for My Life' launch post. 

NICE Quality Standards – reminders of deadlines

NICE are seeking lay members to join a NICE committee updating their quality standard on Hip fracture. They are looking for people with a recent (within the last 5 years) understanding of hip fractures and the issues important to patients and their carers, with respect to the quality and delivery of them. The closing date for this recruitment is 5pm on Wednesday 4 November. Full details can be found here, including links to the application paperwork as well as details of expenses.NICE are recruiting Core members  - with a professional or practitioner background in the topic -  on their ...

Arthritis Research UK's policy on biosimilars

Arthritis Research UK is working to ensure that people who choose to use biosimilars have the information and support they need to make informed decisions about these treatments.Biological therapies have innate variability and it is essential that these medicines are proportionally regulated, accurately prescribed and effectively monitored to develop a full evidence base of their safety and efficacy in the long-term.Open and download Arthritis Research UK's Biosimilars: policy position statement document, September 2015.

EULAR Congress and Abstract Submissions

The next EULAR congress is to be held at the ExCel, London 8th-11th June 2016. Further details will follow soon. Registration has opened on the site.EULAR PARE has opened the Abstract Submission Process for the upcoming congress. They have produced a short guide [PDF] and slide presentation [ppt] giving advice on how to write an abstract. You can also see their submissions page for more detailed information.Submissions are being accepted until the 31st January 2016. Reminder: Edgar Stene Prize 2016 is open for entries!We are inviting entries from people aged 16 years and over living with a rheumatic or musculoskeletal disease to ...

Guest Blog: An Opportunity for Joint Action

by Professor Anthony Woolf, Chair of ARMA and Chair of the Bone and Joint Decade: A Global Alliance for Musculoskeletal HealthMusculoskeletal conditions continue to be the greatest cause of disability in the UK according to the Global Burden of Disease study [click for summary], accounting for 30%. Low back pain is the greatest specific cause of disability and osteoarthritis is increasing with ageing of the population and increasing obesity. We, the MSK community, have always known the impact these problems have on people and society but now policy makers cannot escape from the facts and have to come up with ...

South London Health Innovation Network – ESCAPE Pain

On the 20th October, the Health Innovation Network’s ESCAPE-pain programme was awarded a two-year Health and Wellbeing Award from the Royal Society of Public Health.This award recognises the work of the ESCAPE-pain programme in moving outside of traditional NHS environments and into the community (i.e. leisure centres) to improve public health.You can find more information at @ESCAPE_pain and @HINSouthLondon.

North Wales ARMA Network Group News

Since 2013 the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCU-HB) and the North Wales Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance Network Group (NW ARMA) have been working closely together on initiatives to benefit people with Arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions in North Wales. A Memorandum of Understanding (2014 July) has been updated to ensure that service users and their support organisations are represented in the development, planning, monitoring and evaluation of NHS musculoskeletal services in North Wales. A North Wales-wide ‘Signposting’ initiative was launched by the BCU Health Board Chairman at a successful NW ARMA Network Open event held on 8th. October 2015. This ‘Signposting‘ will enable ...

Pam Stewart wins International Distinguished Services Award

Fibromyalgia Action UK (FMA UK) has the pleasure of announcing that Pam Stewart, Trustee and a former long-standing Chair of the charity, has received an international Distinguished Services Award from the Bone and Joint Decade, a Global Alliance for Musculoskeletal Health. This is an international Alliance of organisations working in the musculoskeletal conditions field.Pam received the Award “for promoting the goals of the Bone and Joint Decade and in recognition of distinguished professional excellence and service to colleagues and people affected by musculoskeletal disorders.” Everyone at FMA UK would like to congratulate Pam wholeheartedly; she deserves the award for her ...

Chiropractic Competencies & Skills

The Royal College of Chiropractors' Health Policy Unit has recently published a document outlining the skills and competencies of chiropractors in the management of low back and radicular pain. Download the PDF from the RCC website.Similar documents addressing other musculoskeletal conditions are under development, as are CPD opportunities to help chiropractors further develop their competencies and skills in key areas. 2016 AGM & ConferenceSpeakers at the RCC’s forthcoming AGM & Conference include Professor Charles Greenough, Chair of the multidisciplinary working group that developed the ‘Pathfinder’ pathway of care for low back and radicular pain. The event takes place in London on ...

Congratulations NASS Portsmouth on 25 years of happy exercising

NASS Portsmouth threw a big celebration event at the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard to mark their 25th anniversary. NASS Portsmouth has 40 regular members attending their weekly physiotherapy and hydrotherapy sessions. Lead by chairman Roger Stevens, a co-convenor of the Portsmouth ARMA network, the members are a friendly, caring group who enjoy holding regular social events throughout the year. The branch works closely with, and is supported by, the rheumatology and physiotherapy departments at Queen Alexandra Hospital under Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust.More than a hundred people attended the party, including branch members past and present, staff from Queen Alexandra ...

Portsmouth’s AS Clinical Practice event & Multidisciplinary Team

The Multidisciplinary Health Care Team is a valued and integral member of the patient care pathway for those living with Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS). The team needs to be supported to develop the knowledge and skills required to deliver competent and compassionate AS patient-centred care across all sectors of care.Portsmouth Hospitals’ “AS Clinical Practice event” has now been running for 5 years and has delivered the programme to over 120 health care professionals from the local region and is now attracting national interest.The AS Clinical Practice programme is delivered in partnership working across primary, secondary health care organisation and with close ...

Physio Course & Patient Conference - Northern Ireland

NASS have long wanted to provide more support to people living with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) in Northern Ireland. On Friday 16 October we were delighted to work together with AStretch to host a training course for 48 physiotherapists in Northern Ireland. The practical course has enabled the physiotherapists to treat ankylosing spondylitis patients with confidence.Following the course NASS hosted a Meet & Greet where we discussed setting up NASS branches in Derry, Belfast and Newry. On Saturday 17 October we were delighted to welcome more than 80 people with AS at our conference for talks by Dr Philip Gardener and ...

NRAS - World Arthritis Day 2015 & Rheum2Talk

Monday 12th October was World Arthritis Day and NRAS Founder and CEO, Ailsa Bosworth, had a very busy day as she was interviewed on 21 different radio stations’ day time programmes, reaching over 6 million listeners across the UK.  Raising awareness of RA and JIA is vitally important and it will continue to be at the core of NRAS’s work. The podcast of the most in depth interview will shortly be available to listen to on the NRAS website. As you can see from the picture, the NRAS team also took part in the #WADHigh5 campaign on social media! Click the ...

New publication from the College of Occupational Therapists for rheumatological conditions

The College of Occupational Therapists (2015) has published the Hand and wrist orthoses for adults with rheumatological conditions: practice guideline for occupational therapists. The publication, although written for occupational therapists, will be relevant to physiotherapists, hand therapists, orthotists and others who prescribe or use orthoses.The guideline covers the treatment of adults who may benefit from a hand or wrist orthosis as an intervention for a rheumatological condition. It provides specific evidence-based recommendations which describe the most appropriate care or action to be taken. The recommendations are intended to be used alongside the therapist’s clinical expertise and aims to support their ...

The Fit for Work Coalition is pleased to launch ‘My plan for life with…’

‘My plan for life with…’ is a guide designed to support and empower people with chronic musculoskeletal conditions to manage their condition better and to feel more in control of their care. The tool aims to help people make the most of their contact with healthcare professionals. It includes sections where they can note down how they are feeling, any questions they want to ask, or to record test results and next steps in their treatment and care. It also signposts sources of information and support. The tool is meant to be owned by the individual with the ...

HSJ Investigation: ‘Unwarranted and unfair’ disparity in elective surgery revealed

Wide variations in elective surgery rates among the most affluent and deprived areas in England raise serious questions about the use of NHS resources, a leading public health expert has warned.1 October, 2015 | By Lawrence Dunhill, Health Service Journal.HSJ investigation finds huge disparities in rates for elective surgery in affluent and deprived populationsExperts warn the variance raises serious questions about use of NHS resourcesDisparity in elective surgery commissioningHSJ’s investigation, which examined the rates for elective surgery funded by the clinical commissioning groups covering the 10 most affluent and 10 most deprived populations in the country, has revealed huge ...

PCRS annual conference details: programme and form

The Primary Care Rheumatology Society has released a provisional programme for their forthcoming annual conference in York. For the first time, activities include a joint injection workshop with a focus on upper limb anatomy, which will take place with the assistance and facilites of York Medical School.Depending on your Word settings, files could be subject to Microsoft's Protected View. To make the file trusted, simply click 'enable editing' on the gold banner.You should then be able to print the file. Here's what Microsoft has to say about it.Advanced users can adjust their Trusted Documents, Security settings in 'Options'.This applies to ...

New LUPUS UK website

On Tuesday October 15th 2015 LUPUS UK launched its re-brand and a brand new website. The new website is optimised for mobile and tablet devices and features a more streamlined and modern appearance. For the first time, all of LUPUS UK’s publications are available to download in digital format from one easy to find location.The website has received a lot of positive feedback since it went live and is welcoming significantly higher levels of traffic. We hope that it will be a resource that many patients, carers and medical professionals use on a regular basis.You can see the new website ...

A world where people can live active lives, free from arthritis pain

by Dr Wendy Holden, Consultant RheumatologistAround one in seven people in the UK currently live with arthritis. This figure is expected to rise to one in four by 2030 [1]. It is the leading cause of pain and disability, costing the NHS a staggering £5 billion a year [2]. One in five of us consult their GP about a musculoskeletal problem like arthritis each year, that’s more than 100,000 consultations for arthritis every day [3].Around 15,000 children and young people live with the condition [4]. Crucially, arthritis also impacts work performance: almost 31 million working days were lost in 2013 ...

Nobel Prize for Chinese Medicine researcher

The BAcC sends its congratulations to Youyou Tu, who has won the Nobel Prize for medicine for discovering the naturally-based compound artemisinin while studying Traditional Chinese Medicine.Artemisinin has since been an active ingredient in global malaria treatment. Youyou Tu is Chief Professor at the China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine.See the nobel prize website for more. BAcC Upcoming Events:Acupuncture Research Resource Centre Symposium – 19th March 2016 – Kings College LondonBritish Conference for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine – 23-5 September 2016, Reading 

British Institute of Musculoskeletal Medicine's Upcoming Events 2015/16

Injection Road Show4th November 2015Blackberry Clinic, Milton Keynes.The one day BIMM workshop ‘Soft Tissue Examination & Injections’, it offers experiential learning with a high tutor to learner ratio (no more than 1:6) and is suitable for general practitioners, GP registrars and hospital doctors beginning or considering a career or special interest in musculoskeletal medicine. Physiotherapists, nurse and osteopathic practitioners have also found much value in these courses in the past.This course is based around a series of workstations through which participants rotate, learning surface anatomy, examination skills, indications for injection, needle placement (with practice on models) and safety issues. BIMM/SOMM Combined ...

October 20th is World Osteoporosis Day!

The National Osteoporosis Society is calling on everyone in the UK to lace up for bones! Thousands of people like you are swapping their shoe laces for a special pair of orange laces in support of people with, or at risk of osteoporosis. Join in and be a part of the movement! Buy a pair of orange laces from the NOS, put them in your trainers or shoes and share a photo on social media. You can help the three million people that have osteoporosis and help keep your bones strong too.Visit laceupforbones for more. 

World Arthritis Day 2015

The topic for World Arthritis Day in 2015 and 2016 is 'It's in your hands, take action'.  The aim is to encourage people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) along with their carers, healthcare professionals, policy-makers, researchers and the general public to seize every opportunity to take action and make a difference to the quality of life of people with RMDs.Join us on Social Media and take action! Find resources and more info on our official website: www.worldarthritisday.orgWAD on FacebookWAD on Twitter

Bone and Joint Decade Action Week

Key dates and activities during BJD Action week 12th to 20th October 2015 are: Monday 12th October               World Arthritis Day (WAD) ‘It’s in your hands, take action’ – EULAR PARE are asking people to take action for WAD share virtual High 5s on social media, using the hashtag #WADHigh5. Lots of other activities are also running, see www.worldarthritisday.org for full details.   Friday 16th October                  World Spine Day With back pain and neck pain one of the most common reasons for sick leave from work the focus of the day is helping people to maintain good spinal health and prevent workplace injuries. Take ...

EULAR PARE Updates, September 2015

Reminder: Edgar Stene Prize 2016 is open for entries!We are inviting entries from people aged 16 years and over living with a rheumatic or musculoskeletal disease to the Edgar Stene Prize 2016 on the topic of:“Living with a rheumatic or musculoskeletal disease (RMD): How I take action to enjoy life to the full”The competition invites people to share their personal experiences and their individual coping strategies to ‘live life to the full’ despite being affected by an RMD. Each essay should not exceed 2 pages (A4) – please see here for the detailed prize rules and the competition booklet here ...

National Arthritis Week | Arthritis Research UK

o   Katherine Stevenson has joined the Arthritis Research UK team as our Policy Officer and is looking forward to meeting you. Her e-mail is: K.Stevenson@arthritisresearchuk.org.o   National Arthritis Week. This National Arthritis Week (12 - 18 October) we’re asking people to share their story to help us get one step closer to helping more people live free from the pain of arthritis. Arthritis Research UK want to hear people’s stories living with joint pain and arthritis, and are asking people to tell us about the challenges they face and the triumphs they experience.We’ll use the stories to guide the research ...

DBC & ESA - Your experience of claiming benefits

The Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) is a national coalition of over 60 different charities committed to working towards a fair benefits system for disabled people and their families.If you are unable to work because of a long-term condition or disability then you can apply for Employment Support Allowance (ESA).We know that disabled people often struggle to get the financial support they need. We want to hear from you so we can find out what is and isn’t working well. We have put together four surveys which ask you about your experiences of claiming PIP, the impact of moving from DLA ...

ARMA is the umbrella body providing a collective voice for the arthritis and musculoskeletal community in the UK.

Together, ARMA and its member organisations work to improve quality of life for all those living with musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders in the UK.

We aim to foster co-operation between charities and professional organisations, working to enhance understanding and mutual support between individuals and organisational bodies.