This is a category taken from the full feed of Musculoskeletal and Arthritis news provided by ARMA's members.

About ARMA

ARMA is happy to extend a warm welcome to the Psoriasis Association, our newest member.

The Psoriasis Association offers information and support in a variety of ways to people whose lives are affected by psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis; patients, relatives, friends, healthcare professionals and the general public.

Founded in 1968, the Psoriasis Association has always recognised and promoted the value of multi-disciplinary teams when treating both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. They regularly contribute to appraisals and guidelines for NICE and the SMC. The Psoriasis Association funds, collaborates and supports cutting-edge research to increase the understanding of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis in addition to improving the experiences and advance the treatments for those affected by these conditions.

Click here for more background and contact details.

Nominations for the election of ARMA trustees are open!

There are three vacancies and we encourage you to apply. The Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance (ARMA) provides a collective voice for the arthritis and musculoskeletal community in the UK. Our vision is that musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders are a priority in policy and practice in the UK. We work collectively and collaboratively with our members – 30 organisations, ranging from specialised support groups for rare diseases to major research charities and national professional bodies.

We work with partners in the NHS and Public Health England to achieve this vision.

Trustees are responsible for the governance, strategy and management of the ARMA charity, in line with the priorities agreed by the membership. They contribute to the strategic development of the organisation and the delivery of its activities, taking part in four online board meetings a year and in other activities between meetings as required.  

As a trustee, you’ll be part of a skilled and experienced board of trustees, working closely with an outstanding team of people.

There is an induction pack for new trustees and an existing trustee will act as a buddy to help you understand the role.

Potential trustees need to complete the trustee form [download in Microsoft Word docx format], and also need the support of an ARMA member organisation. If you are not already associated with an ARMA member, we can introduce you.

Please send your applications using the form to no later than 5pm Friday 26 June 2020.

20 November 2019

Introduced by Sue Brown ARMA CEO and Liam O’Toole, CEO, Versus Arthritis who partnered with ARMA for this flagship lecture, the two presenters Sue Patey and Dr Brendon Stubbs, delivered speeches to an attentive audience of patients, public health, health education and NHS officials.

Sue Patey, who has arthritis, spoke about the impact arthritis had on getting dressed, eating and on her mental health in a moving, honest speech.

Dr Brendon Stubbs is Head of Physiotherapy, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, and NIHR Clinical Lecturer at Kings College London. He spoke about the links between pain, depression, lack of sleep/disturbed sleep and anxiety. He spoke about the evidence for physical activity in comparison to CBT (Cognitive behavioural therapy) for reducing depression. He spoke candidly that while exercise is considered a wonderful antidote, people with depression may not feel able to get up and shower and cook, let alone exercise.

In case you missed the lecture, or want to see it again, the recording of the event is available here.

Twitter was popular at the event; you can see the range of tweets via #MSKMentalHealth.

Could you be the new treasurer of ARMA? This is an ideal opportunity for someone who wishes to gain experience of serving as a charity treasurer. As a small charity, ARMA’s finances are relatively straightforward, so you don’t necessarily need to be a highly qualified accountant. The skills and knowledge required might have been gained through financial qualifications, running a business or previous treasurer experience.

An interest in improving health services is desirable, but we do not require any previous experience of working in health services. Similarly, an interest in or experience of musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis would be an advantage but is not essential.

ARMA Trustees are appointed for an initial three-year term and after that are eligible to stand for a further three-year term. This is an unpaid honorary post. Board meetings take place on a quarterly basis and you will be expected to give your time for four meetings, three of which are online and one of which takes place in London. Reasonable expenses are reimbursed. As Treasurer you will also monitor the finances monthly and raise any concerns, report to Board meetings and provide advice on an ad hoc basis to staff. You will not be required to do the bookkeeping and will receive monthly management accounts from the accountant. You will liaise with the Chief Executive in preparation for Board meetings.

For more information, contact

BASRaT, the British Association of Sport Rehabilitators has joined ARMA and we are delighted to welcome them on board.

As the UK regulator, BASRaT guides Sport Rehabilitators on all aspects of their role and responsibilities, ensuring professional competency and continued professional development. BASRaT’s mission is to champion, raise awareness and support areas of growth within the profession.

BASRaT works hard to promote the benefits of Sport Rehabilitation and awareness of the profession. Sport Rehabilitators aid people with musculoskeletal pain, injury or illness. They help people to maintain their health and fitness, recover from and prevent injury and reduce pain using exercise, movement and therapy.

We look forward to working with the BASRaT team.

Musculoskeletal support professionals in the community

by Dr Rob Hampton, GP and Occupational Physician

Across the world, chronic musculoskeletal conditions such as osteoarthritis, inflammatory disorders and common regional conditions such as back, neck, shoulder, hip and knee pain now represent the single greatest cause of years lived with disability 1. When measuring their negative impact on employment, self-reported wellbeing and day-to-day function, chronic musculoskeletal pain conditions are every bit as invasive as other chronic conditions such as heart failure, diabetes and COPD. People with chronic conditions increasingly have access to dedicated, usually nurse-led services that provide support with exacerbations and link the patient to GP and secondary care when required. Even the traditional ‘Cinderella’ conditions of dementia and mental health now benefit from improved recognition and coordinated care. I would argue that chronic musculoskeletal conditions are now the true Cinderella in the UK, a fact recognised by NHS England through their partnership with the Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance (ARMA) called the MSK Knowledge Network. Its focus is on bringing knowledge and people together to improve outcomes for people with MSK conditions in England.

There are several projects that show the value of community-based support for people with musculoskeletal problems. The Joint Pain Advisor pilot in South London 2 is an example of the power of professional support to help people adapt to chronic pain problems and reduce demands on healthcare resources, particularly GPs. The power to encourage self-care and de-medicalise chronic musculoskeletal pain have been cornerstones of pioneering services such as the Back Pain Programme in South Tees 3 and the Pain to Prospects Programme in Leicester 4. These services win awards, are reproducible beyond the pilot phases and could provide a level of support to the people with chronic musculoskeletal conditions similar to that for conditions such as heart failure, diabetes and COPD. My impression is that the biopsychosocial approach required is just ‘not medical enough’ to receive CCG funding but ‘too medical’ to attract financing from the social or welfare sector.

Will the evolution of Primary Care Networks announced in January 2019 through the NHS long-term plan provide the right environment for ongoing community based musculoskeletal support? Let’s hope so. If ARMA take up this cause with NHS England, progress can be made.


  1. Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 Collaborators. (2015) Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 301 acute and chronic diseases and injuries in 188 countries, 1990–2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013. Lancet 386:743–800. 
  2. A Walker, R Williams, F Sibley, D Stamp, A Carter, M Hurley. (2017) Improving access to better care for people with knee and/or hip pain: service evaluation of allied health professional‐led primary care. Musculoskeletal Care.
  3. NHS England (2017) National Low Back and Radicular Pain Pathway 2017, Together with Implementation Guide (accessed January 2019).
  4. Hampton R. (2013) From Pain to Prospects? – helping people on welfare benefits with chronic pain. Pain News. 2013;11(4):227 –230.

More people, more active, more often: three perspectives on physical activity and musculoskeletal health

21 November 2018

Introduced by Sue Brown ARMA CEO and Liam O’Toole, CEO, Versus Arthritis, who partnered with ARMA for the flagship lecture, the three presenters delivered speeches that did not disappoint the rapt audience of health professionals, commissioners, patients, public and NHS health officials and, of course, parkrunners. The discussion about how to overcome the barriers to activity faced by people with musculoskeletal conditions ranged from big-picture societal issues to practical hows-to. 

Michael Brannan, Physical Activity Programme Manager, Public Health England said that strength, balance and co-ordination were often referred to as the ‘forgotten guidelines’ included in the Chief Medical Office Physical Activity Guidelines. While two-thirds of men and half of women achieve the cardiovascular elements of the CMO guidelines, a much smaller proportion meet the strengthening, balance and coordination elements of the CMO guidelines. 

Claire Harris, Physiotherapist from NASS, spoke of the general and specific barriers people face to activity, such as time, transport – especially for people in rural communities – fatigue, financial problems, family support, pain, stiffness, disability, low self-esteem, disability and co-morbidities and how to overcome these, for example, motivational interviewing. 

Nick Pearson, CEO of the popular weekly parkrun, was thought-provoking and unafraid to challenge the status quo. He said, “Many populations most at risk of life-impacting, disabling health conditions are the populations most likely to be inactive, doubling down on their risk levels and potentially creating a ‘health underclass’; these populations are exposed to the highest environment and social risk factors, cut adrift and deprived of the vast majority of health initiatives and interventions. Parkrun has been able to cut through some of these structural, political, and social challenges.”  

The panel then considered questions such as how some of the success of Parkrun could be imitated, followed by audience questions. 

In case you missed it, or want to see it again, the recording of the event is available here.

Twitter, with vlogs from attendees, was popular at the event, you can see the range of tweets and vlogs on #MSKactivity.

Over the last few months ARMA has been working with members on a new strategy, setting out more clearly what we work on and how we work in collaboration with our members. We will work in those areas where collaboration will have bigger impact than any single organization working alone. Through greater clarity and focus we expect to achieve greater impact. If you are reading this and thinking that your professional body or patient organisation isn’t a member but really should be part of this, encourage them to join.

ARMA is an umbrella body representing the breadth of musculoskeletal conditions and professions.  

Our vision for musculoskeletal (MSK) health: 

  • The MSK health of the population is promoted throughout life; 
  • Everyone with MSK conditions receives appropriate, high quality interventions to promote their health and well-being in a timely manner. 


We engage with: 

Public Policy 

Desired impact:  

  • Integrated approaches to MSK are included in all policy. 


Services (commissioning)

Desired impact: 

  • Evidence-informed MSK pathways are in place 
  • MSK health is recognised and prioritised. 


Policy delivery and practice 

Desired impact:  

  • Evidence based Interventions are being delivered 
  • Person-centred, integrated MSK care is being delivered. 
  • There is an improvement focus, with innovation, spread and quality improvement at the heart of provision.