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

Arthritis News

BackCare-Chief-Executivex300-thumbBackCare has a new Chief Executive – Stuart Blackman – who brings diverse charity experience following a first career with three leading healthcare companies that included extensive clinical trials work in musculoskeletal disorders, international marketing and project management. Click for full size photo.

BackCare launched it’s new website which includes a range of new features to meet the growing demands of BackCare’s stakeholder groups – patients, practitioners, companies, researchers and educators. See

BackCare announce the focus of their 2015 awareness week is back pain in school children. One quarter of UK school children suffer from back pain but are not covered by legislation designed to protect adult employees. The 2015 Awareness Week will also be encouraging exercise, good posture, healthy eating to help improve school results…

PSALV-logo-squareThe psoriasis/PsA Cross-Party Group at Holyrood is now subsumed into “Skin and related Rheumatic conditions”; however, we at PSALV continue to campaign on PsA rheumatology matters, being the only peer-led patient group in Scotland with leading NHS Clinicians as advisers.

At the first meeting of the new CPG in December 2014, Prof Iain McInnes of Glasgow University, spoke on the subject of psoriatic arthritis. He explained how he believes it is more common than rheumatoid arthritis; and how we need joint clinics all over Scotland to enable the best and equitable treatment for the estimated 23,000 people who have it here.

Joint clinics are where Rheumatology and Dermatology work together for the benefit of people with psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis. Prof McInnes runs one at Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

We are working on a DVD, which can be used to educate and inform on PsA here. It features Professors McInnes and David Burden, and two patients. We hope that this DVD will be widely used for the training and education of medical students and nurses, etc. (and not for profit).

Our website has A4 page articles by NHS clinical experts, which can be downloaded or sent by post.

Janice Johnson

Ella-Vine-guest-blog by Ella Vine, Chief Executive, FibroAction

It was a pleasure to attend last week’s ARMA parliamentary reception, an event with expert speakers and healthcare professionals on the subject of musculoskeletal conditions. The event was well attended and it was good to see that some MPs are genuinely interested in the cause and support the 2015 ARMA Manifesto.

Lord Hunt, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, has spoken about the challenges lying ahead of us to improve the diagnosis and care of MSK conditions and addressed all six points of ARMA’s Manifesto. One of the biggest challenges for all of us who work in the sector and those living with any of the several conditions that are under the umbrella of MSK conditions, is to make an absolute priority for the incoming government and the NHS to offer excellent, top class quality diagnosis and care for people living with any of these conditions. This is the first point of the ARMA’s manifesto and it is closely intertwined with the other 5 points.

[really_simple_share button=”twitter”] [really_simple_share button=”facebook_share”] [really_simple_share button=”facebook_like”] [really_simple_share button=”linkedin”] [really_simple_share button=”google1″] [really_simple_share button=”pinterest”]

When musculoskeletal conditions, such as fibromyalgia, are not correctly and promptly diagnosed, they do not only bring a misery to peoples’ lives, they can cause or deepen a disability, force people out of work, put families in income poverty and prevent people from living their lives to the full.


It also costs more public money. Prevention from this happening is the key and that is why we need excellent care and facilities to help people stay as healthy and active as possible through their lifetime. The return on investment in optimum diagnostic and care facilities and services is unquestionable. Thank you to ARMA for taking these matters to the heart of the parliament and for those of us working in the sector to keep bringing it up with the decision makers.

Ella Vine
Chief Executive, FibroAction

nhsengland_logoNHS England has launched a new consultation about how it will prioritise which specialised services and treatments to invest in.

NHS England directly commissions around 145 specialised services. In order to ensure the maximum number of patients benefit from new innovative treatments coming on stream, choices need to be made about which of these to fund. In carrying out a public consultation, NHS England will ensure the principles and process for making these decisions are well informed, evidence-led and in line with the expectations of patients and the public. The consultation will last for 90 days from 27 January 2015.

Patients and the public can comment on the consultation at the Investing in Specialised Commissioning page.

All feedback received via the online consultation will be collated and summarised and a report of the consultation findings will be considered by the Specialised Commissioning Committee and the NHS England Board. NHS England will publish a report outlining the key themes of the consultation findings on its website.

This process is looking at the specialist treatments and services that will be routinely available for groups of patients on the NHS. Clinicians, on behalf of their patients, will continue to be able to make a request (an Individual Funding Request) to NHS England for treatment that is not routinely available.

NHS England is also undertaking an engagement exercise to seek views on which specialised services should be prioritised for ‘service reviews’ as part of a rolling programme of reviewing how each specialised service is delivered. NHS England is writing to all providers of specialised services, Clinical Reference Groups and associated patient groups seeking their views on where to concentrate efforts over next 12 – 24 months. A number of engagement events and workshops are also being planned. Views on which areas to prioritise for service reviews can also be emailed to us.

Adult specialist renal services and specialist morbid obesity services

NHS England has said that it has listened to patients and clinicians and would continue national commissioning of specialist renal and morbid obesity services in 2015/16. It said it will keep under review whether to transfer responsibility to clinical commissioning groups, but any changes would not happen before April 2016.

To kick-off 2015, EUALR is very excited to announce the theme for World Arthritis Day 2015-16:

It’s in your hands, take action.

EULAR will encourage people with RMDs, along with their carers, healthcare professionals, policy-makers, researchers and the general public to seize every opportunity to take action, make a difference and improve the quality of life for people with RMDs.
To bring our theme to life in 2015, we will be asking people around the globe to take action for World Arthritis Day by sharing a ‘High 5’ in support of people with RMDs on social media, using the hashtag #WADHigh5. There will also be the opportunity to participate through additional ‘High 5’-related activities.

We can’t wait for you to share your virtual ‘High 5’s’ and get involved!

As part of the campaign, we will be developing a toolkit to assist you in spreading the ‘High 5’ social media campaign in your own country, as well as ideas for easily-implementable additional activities for 12th October and throughout the year.

We really look forward to continuing the great success of World Arthritis Day this year with your fantastic support and look forward to telling you more about the campaign in the near future. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.


Sending a ‘High 5’ to you all!

On behalf of WAD task force,
Maria Batziou
Project Coordinator, EULAR Secretariat

Influential global alliance calls on governments and the World Health Organisation to prioritise musculoskeletal health following findings of Global Burden of Disease Study (2010)

The Bone and Joint Decade (BJD), the only organisation that brings together stakeholders considering all musculoskeletal conditions, calls for urgent action to “keep people moving” and reduce the burden of disability.

Musculoskeletal conditions are the second greatest cause of disability globally according to a report by international experts, published in The Lancet on 15th December 2012.  In the first comprehensive study of the worldwide impact of all diseases and risk factors, musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions such as arthritis and back pain affect over 1.7 billion people worldwide, and have the fourth greatest impact on the overall health of the world population, considering both death and disability.  This burden has increased by 45% over the last 20 years and will continue to do so unless action is taken.

This landmark study of the global burden of all diseases provides indisputable evidence that musculoskeletal conditions are an enormous and emerging problem in all parts of the world and need to be given the same priority for policy and resources as other major conditions like cancer, mental health and cardiovascular disease.

Professor Anthony Woolf, from the Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro, UK and Chair of the Bone and Joint Decade (BJD) International Co-ordinating Council, said: “Across the world, health policy has ignored diseases which affect the quality of lives and independence of people living with them and focused on those with high mortality such as infectious diseases, and more recently on cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Now it is time for priority to be placed on dealing with this enormous burden from arthritis, back pain and other musculoskeletal conditions to prevent unnecessary pain and disability. Despite effective ways of preventing and treating these conditions, many people do not have access to them because they are not a priority.  This data justifies what the BJD has been campaigning for over the past ten years.”

This call is echoed by the Professor Christopher Murray and the authors of the study who say that “health systems will need to address the needs of the rising numbers of individuals with a range of conditions that largely cause disability, not mortality”.  The Global Burden of Disease 2010 Project is led by Professor Christopher Murray, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Seattle, the World Health Organisation and involves researchers from around the world.

Leader of the MSK Expert Group, Lyn March, University of Sydney, Australia said: “This data provides the clearest evidence to date of the huge and increasing burden on global health from musculoskeletal conditions. It shows that lower back pain is the leading cause of disability and osteoarthritis is one of the fastest growing conditions. We need clear action to reverse this situation and to keep people moving and living without pain and disability.”

Professor Alan Silman, Medical Director of Arthritis Research UK: “Our Chief Medical Officer’s recent annual report highlighted osteoarthritis as a generally unrecognised public health priority.  “Today’s study provides a much needed picture of musculoskeletal conditions internationally, in an area which has been acknowledged as data poor.”

Federico Moscogiuri, Director of the Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance (ARMA), said, “This latest data provides a compelling case for making musculoskeletal disorders a national health priority, particularly at a time when the NHS is required to do “more for less” and make services much more patient-centred.  When it comes to improving public health, providing cost-effective care and keeping people with long-term conditions independent and in work, the treatment and management of musculoskeletal disorders is clearly where the big wins are, and that’s where the attention needs to be.”

Dr Brian Hammond, Chairman of BackCare, said, “This reaffirms BackCare’s mission to decrease the impact of back and neck pain on society by providing preventative advice to individuals and industry, as well as help and information for those already afflicted with spinal problems.”

Since the launch in 2000, the Bone and Joint Decade has done much to change priorities by identifying the effect these conditions have on people and on society.  “Now we need actions by policy makers to prioritise preventing and treating these conditions to avoid people having unnecessary disability and pain,” Professor Woolf concludes.

The Bone and Joint Decade is calling for urgent action by the World Health Organisation, the United Nations, and by national governments and for explicit plans to respond to the Global Burden of Disease 2010 results and the new ranking which shows that musculoskeletal conditions have an enormous and growing impact in all regions of the world.

Click here to visit the Lancet for articles and comment related to the study.

Click here to visit the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, the organisation responsible for the study, where you can also see related charts, graphs, data and discussion of the GBD study.

Please share this article with your organisation and colleagues.



Musculoskeletal conditions include joint diseases such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis; back and neck pain; osteoporosis and fragility fractures; soft tissue rheumatism; injuries due to sports and in the workplace; and trauma commonly related to road traffic accidents.

  • They cause pain, physical disability and loss of personal and economic independence
  • They affect millions of people of all ages in all cultures and in all countries
  • Current estimates of people affected worldwide (Lancet 15 December 2012)
  • Back pain    632.045 million
  • Neck pain    332.049 million
  • OA knee     250.785 million
  • Other musculoskeletal conditions    560.978 million
  • They are the second greatest cause of disability, as measured by years lived with disability (YLDs) worldwide and across most regions of the world (Lancet 15 December 2012)
  • As a group musculoskeletal disorders cause 21.3% of all years lived with disability (YLDs)  (this is second only to mental and behavioural disorders which account for 22.7% of YLDs)
  • The main contributors are low back pain (83.1 million YLDs), neck pain (33.6 million YLDs), osteoarthritis (17.1 million YLDs) and the other musculoskeletal category. Osteoarthritis of the knee accounts for 83% of the osteoarthritis total.
  • The leading cause of disability worldwide are low back pain contributing 10.7% of total YLDs (major depression contributes 8.1%).
  • They have the fourth greatest impact on the health of the world population, considering both death and disability (DALYs) (Lancet 15 December 2012)
  • Musculoskeletal disorders account 6.8% DALYs
  • Low back pain accounts for nearly one half, neck pain one fifth, and osteoarthritis about 10%.
  • Ranking of major causes of death and disability (% DALYs)
  • Cardiovascular and circulatory diseases 11.8%
  • All neoplasms 7.6%
  • Mental and behavioural disorders 7.4%
  • Musculoskeletal disorders 6.8%
  • Disability due to musculoskeletal disorders is estimated to have increased by 45% from 1990 – 2010 (Lancet).  Osteoarthritis is the fastest increasing major health condition.  This relates to ageing of the population, increased obesity and lack of physical activity.
  • Disability due to musculoskeletal conditions can be effectively prevented by currently available interventions, such as accident prevention, modern treatment of arthritis and injuries, and by rehabilitation.
  • The growing burden can be controlled if priority and resources are given to ensure access to these interventions.


Click here to read more posts related to the Bone and Joint Decade

Our thanks go to our sponsor, Margaret Mitchell, MSP, seen here with Pat Evans, PSALV.

PSALV has had a busy and successful autumn. September saw us in Aberdeen, holding the second of our Public Information Meetings of 2012, with presentations by Dr Tony Ormerod, Consultant Dermatologist, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary/Clinical Reader in Dermatology, University of Aberdeen and Dr Alan Macdonald, Consultant Rheumatologist, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary/President Elect, The Scottish Society for Rheumatology. The meeting was very well attended and we were delighted to welcome two MSPs, Nanette Milne and Kevin Stewart. Subsequently, a Parliamentary Motion, which achieved cross-party support, congratulated PSALV on its work.

For the sixth year, PSALV exhibited at the Scottish Parliament, Holyrood, 23-25 October, to mark World Psoriasis Day on 29 October and to raise the profile of those with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. World Psoriasis Day was conceived by patients for patients to give a voice to the estimated 125 million people suffering from psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis around the world and aims to increase awareness of the conditions.

Alex Neil, MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Well-being visiting PSALV’s exhibit.

We were visited by many MSPs, several of whom went on to issue press releases, including an article in The Paisley Daily Express from Hugh Henry, MSP, who said, “I was appalled to learn that children with psoriasis still face discrimination and bullying at school and that employment and education prospects are affected due to ignorant attitudes…..PSALV is the only Scots registered charity for all 114,000 who suffer a daily, exhausting, lifelong battle with this painful, disfiguring, and disabling skin and joint disease. I was happy to give them support in the magnificent job they do in highlighting this disease.”

Kevin Stewart, MSP, hailed the work of PSALV as World Psoriasis Day was observed, commenting, “PSALV have made a tremendous effort to raise awareness of these conditions. They have been unrelenting in their good work so I would like to echo their message on World Psoriasis Day”.

Arthritis Care Scotland

Two new projects, funded by Glasgow North Branch, were given the green light to go ahead this week.

Joint Working will be delivered in partnership with the occupational therapists in NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, and provide support to people diagnosed with RA who are struggling to maintain employment, linking in with employers and other relevant agencies to raise awareness and find solutions to the challenges faced by people with RA to remain part of the workforce. 

Joint Activity will be based in communities, and will focus on introducing new activities and complementary therapies to our existing network of branches, and through developing new groups where needed. The project aims to encourage people with arthritis to have better physical and mental health and wellbeing, through participating in exercise, new therapies and self management workshops in a supported and fun way. 

In addition, a full programme of Joint Potential residential weekends for young people has been planned with the Volunteer Youth Contacts for 2013, and in addition to the 16-25 group, next year we will be running an Activities Weekend for those of a younger age. As in previous years, Aberdeen Branch has generously agreed to fund the programme for 2013