Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance
  • 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 33 member organisations ranging from specialised support groups for rare diseases to major research charities and national professional bodies.

Musculoskeletal Conditions and Mental Health – Policy Position Paper

mental-health-comorbidityFor the working age population in the UK, musculoskeletal and mental health conditions are the most common health conditions.

  • 35.2% of all working aged disabled people in the UK experience musculoskeletal conditions only;
  • 20.2% experience mental health conditions only;
  • and 17.2% experience both.

In policy directives and in practice, these conditions are often dealt with separately, although we are beginning to see some change now. The reality for people is that there is a relationship between their mental health and musculoskeletal conditions. However, the delivery of care for people is still often built around the individual conditions, rather than the way the person experiences them.

Please take the time to read our Policy Position Paper: Musculoskeletal and Mental Health document.

New additions to he MSK Webinar Series:

Supporting people with musculoskeletal conditions to be more active
30 November 11.00

Everything you wanted to know about setting up a Musculoskeletal Service but were afraid to ask
Date TBC
The webinar will describe how we set up the Telford Musculoskeletal Service and some of the problems we encountered along the way with our solutions.

Watch videos from the MSK webinar series:

  • A new integrated pain MSK service: IPASS
  • Choosing Wisely: Shared decision-making
  • Community-based Rheumatology Commissioning
  • Developing and implementing a JSNA chapter
  • Sport, Exercise, Training and Delivery in the NHS
  • Self-care workforce skills
  • Joint Pain Advisor Webinar
  • Getting It Right First Time Masterclass
  • Clinical Networks: Transforming MSK Care
  • Physiotherapy in Primary Care
  • The Musculoskeletal Health Questionnaire
  • New models of MSK Masterclass
  • Work & Health MSK Webinar

MSK Knowledge Hub

The MSK Knowledge Hub is a searchable resource library for those working to support people with musculoskeletal conditions. Part of the partnership between ARMA and NHS England, the Hub will allow the MSK community to debate innovative ideas and good practice, share resources, network and celebrate success. This knowledge base is aimed at professionals, not patients, and is free for anyone to search.

  • If you have musculoskeletal-related articles or documents you’d like to share – and they meet our criteria – please register with the Hub and then ‘Submit a Resource’.
  • Once registered you can also access the interactive MSK Forum enabling people to discuss and share views.

Musculoskeletal Core Capabilities Framework

This is a new framework (launched 31/07/2018) aimed at practitioners who will be the first point of contact for adults presenting with undiagnosed MSK conditions.

The Musculoskeletal Core Capabilities Framework sets out the essential skills and knowledge necessary for staff with a role as a first point of contact in different types of service provision and settings, and will provide healthcare services with clear steps and actions to support local health economies, improving service delivery and patient outcomes.Read more about the Musculoskeletal Core Capabilities Framework.

Supported Self-Management – Policy Position Paper

supported-self-imageARMA policy teams and CEOs have collaborated to agree a Policy Position Paper on Supported Self-Management for People with Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Conditions. The Policy Position Paper sets out recommendations for change.

The evidence identifies the importance of patients as partners in their own care. While people with musculoskeletal conditions can play a pivotal role in their condition, most are simply unaware of the difference they can make. That’s why the Alliance believes people should be supported to take a proactive role in their health, to live well, feeling confident and in control of their condition with supported self-management. Currently, supported self-management sits at the side-lines yet it works – it improves quality of life and clinical outcomes. In the paper, recommendations include a whole system, integrated approach across the care pathway, joining up public health messaging and clinical care.

Please take the time to read our Supported Self-Management for People with Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Conditions document.

ARMA welcomes Government roadmap for work and health, but emphasises need for rapid progress

The Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance welcomed the announcement today of Improving Lives: the future of work, health and disability, but emphasises the need for fast progress for people with musculoskeletal conditions. Improving Lives sets out plans to transform employment prospects for disabled people and those with long term health conditions over the next 10 years.

Conditions of the bones, joints muscles – musculoskeletal conditions – are the leading cause of people’s inability to work and disability in the UK. Less than two-thirds of working age people with a musculoskeletal condition are in work.

Sue Brown, chief executive of ARMA said, “I very much welcome the Government’s firm recognition of the need to address musculoskeletal conditions and work. We look forward to working closely with Government to ensure the details are right, but it’s vital that there is rapid progress if we are to curb the growing impact of musculoskeletal conditions on people’s working lives.

“The specific proposals in the document for a Challenge Fund need to ensure that musculoskeletal conditions are a high priority in their activity.”


Public Health England’s Active 10

Over 6.3 million adults aged 40 to 60 do not achieve 10 minutes of continuous brisk walking over the course of a month and are missing out on important health benefits. The new One You physical activity campaign is encouraging adults to build 10 minutes continuous brisk walking into their day as a simple way to improve their health, which could save the NHS over £0.9 billion per year.

Read the evidence reviewed by Public Health England and learn about the Active 10 app.

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Policy Position Paper on Prevention
of Musculoskeletal Conditions

ARMA highlights a need for transformation so that Care and Public Health systems go beyond merely tackling musculoskeletal conditions when they arise, to promoting good, lifelong musculoskeletal health.

Click here to access the document.

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Policy Position Paper on Joint Replacement Surgery

The Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance is extremely concerned about increasing restrictions to access NHS services for joint replacements and the impact on people with musculoskeletal conditions.

Click here to access the document.

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Musculoskeletal toolkit launched to help employers support people with musculoskeletal conditions

ARMA worked with Public Health England and Business in the Community to develop a new toolkit for employers in the workplace, which launched at the Health and Wellbeing at Work Conference in the NEC today (7 March 2017). Musculoskeletal conditions are an important consideration for businesses as they are a leading cause of pain and disability in the UK, affecting many employees.

The toolkit draws together information for employers to support staff in the prevention, early identification, management and adaptation for people affected by musculoskeletal conditions. The musculoskeletal toolkit is a simple step-by-step guide dealing with back, neck, muscle and joint pain at work. It will help employers access the best free resources that are available for their organisation and employees.

You can access the toolkit from the Business in the Community website.

World Health Organisation landmark action plan will tackle tidal wave of musculoskeletal conditions

The Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance, an alliance of prominent health charities, professional and research bodies, today [Thursday 15th September 2016] welcomed a ground-breaking World Health Organisation action plan to tackle musculoskeletal conditions in Europe.
[Read more]

The Action Plan was also welcomed internationally by the Global Alliance for Musculoskeletal Health, calling on the European Region to implement the Action Plan and all countries of the world to adopt a similar approach to tackling musculoskeletal conditions.

Sign up to the Global Alliance’s e-petition.

Response to Improving Lives: The Work, Health and Disability Green Paper

UK Government consultation

ARMA welcomes the recognition in the Improving Lives: The Work, Health and Disability Paper of the need to address musculoskeletal conditions and work.

Musculoskeletal conditions are among the commonest causes of people’s inability to work and, as evidenced in the Global Burden of Disease study (2015), are the single biggest cause of pain and disability in the UK. Less than two-thirds of working age people with musculoskeletal conditions are in work. MSK conditions are the leading cause of sickness absence, resulting in 30.6 million working days lost each year and one in five visits to the GP. They are associated with anxiety and depression. The impact of MSK problems on work is predicted to increase and with people working into older ages, the impact on work will also increase.

We look forward to working with the Joint Work and Health Unit and ARMA members to provide more detailed support from the musculoskeletal community to realise the opportunities that the Green Paper proposes.

Read the full response.


New ARMA Leaflet

ARMA has released an A5 leaflet to support its activity, promoting good musculoskeletal health.

The leaflet features key messages on what is needed to provide the right care for musculoskeletal conditions,
in the right place, at the right time.

ARMA is the alliance 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.