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

Musculoskeletal pain

RCC-280x300The 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 & Conference

Speakers 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 Wednesday 27th January 2016.
RCC on Facebook

by Dr Wendy Holden, Consultant Rheumatologist


Around 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 due to sickness absence caused by a musculoskeletal condition [5].

A fortnight ago, we marked National Arthritis Week (12 – 18 October), a critical moment in the history of the condition, which, I hope, will help to focus policymakers’ attention on the plight of millions lacking mobility and experiencing pain as a result.

National Arthritis Week is an initiative of Arthritis Research UK [6], which aims to raise awareness of the burden of arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions amongst the healthcare community and the impact that it has on people living with the condition.

Across the sector, eminent doctors and health professionals have been calling for musculoskeletal conditions to be seen as a priority for many years. Arthritis Action is adding its voice to those calls.

Whilst a great deal of research goes into the prevalence, treatment and diagnosis of arthritis, it is important to highlight the significant role of self-management in coping with arthritis.

To mark our launch in June, Arthritis Action published new research, showing that people with arthritis feel isolated, scared about the future and don’t want to ask family, friends or doctors for help [7].

The researchers surveyed 777 people living with arthritis (both osteoarthritis and inflammatory arthritis) and held in-depth interviews with GPs and senior public health professionals. Interestingly, around half of our survey respondents felt that they needed to take charge of self-managing their condition because the NHS is over-stretched.

The research also revealed that the care pathway for osteoarthritis is particularly limited. The main gaps are in physical therapies and pain-clinics; with long waiting times often meaning that the patient does not receive the required treatment during a flare-up in their condition.

There is increasing recognition by GPs that mental wellbeing and preventing social isolation is an important part of patients’ management of arthritis, but counselling, therapy and social support services are lacking and need to be better integrated with medical care.

Furthermore, GPs acknowledge that much of osteoarthritis management relies on patients’ self-management of their condition, which only reinforces the very reason Arthritis Action was born: to help people with arthritis better manage their condition and endure less pain.

My message to the healthcare community is to be brave and bold in this period of publicity. It is time for policymakers at all levels to pull their heads from the sand and address arthritis as a priority.

It is time for a step change in the way we view arthritis, time to give people living in pain a voice, and importantly, time to listen to what they have to say.

Dr Wendy Holden is a Consultant Rheumatologist at North Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and UK Charity Arthritis Action’s Medical Advisor.


At a recent presentation by Peter Moore aimed at assisting clinicians in helping people to live with persistent pain, he presented his Pain Toolkit, a simple information booklet that provides handy tips and skills designed to support people living with the condition.Pain-toolkit-website
Peter has lived with persistent pain since the early 1990s, but in 1994 he successfully turned his life around and now presents to patient groups and healthcare practitioners in the UK and EU on the subject of managing persistent pain.

He is currently petitioning the government to encourage NHS Primary Care & Social Care to provide more pain self-management in all communities:


Pain Self-Management in the Community & Internet

People experiencing pain in the community is on the increase, with 14million people reporting living with persistent pain here in the UK.

Pain-toolkit-icon-squareThe best and most effective way to support people with pain is for NHS Primary Care (CCG’s) and Social Care to develop simple educational pain self-management workshops/programmes in the community.

Also it would be useful for the NHS Primary Care (CCG’s) and Social Care to utilise the Internet with more self-learning pain self-management information.

I hope you would sign this petition to encourage NHS Primary Care & Social Care to provide more pain self-management in ALL communities.


arthritis-care-Scotland-squarePlease see the press release “Arthritis Survey Supports Government Agenda on Self Management” that has gone to all Scottish Media this week.

It provides full information on the findings of a survey that Arthritis Care have published this week, as part of Arthritis Care Week (19th to 25th May), which supports the Scottish Government’s decision to prioritise self-management within the health agenda.

New Survey Shows:

  • 70% of people with arthritis endure constant pain
  • People in Scotland felt that care was improving
  • People in Scotland felt that access to self management was improving


Congratulations to FibroMapp which has now been approved by the NHS as a healthcare app that they are happy to back. FibroMapp is in fact the ONLY pain management/tracker app that has been approved so far. Currently it is only available on Android.

FMA UK has been working with the developers, who have personal experience of fibromyalgia, to provide this means of recording symptoms, medication and other factors so that these can be analysed by the patient and passed onto the medical professionals treating them. The app also provides reminders on when to take medication, which is so useful when on multiple prescriptions. It can work for other conditions although specifically developed for fibromyalgia.

FMAUK FibroMapp is available to purchase at £3.99 by following this link, with 50% of proceeds being donated to FMA UK.

Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network
SIGN 136 Management of Chronic Pain

Across Europe approximately 18% of the population is currently affected by moderate to severe chronic pain, particularly for musculoskeletal issues. It has a considerable impact on quality of life, resulting in significant suffering and disability. Within Scotland there is evidence of wide variation in clinical practice, service and resource provision, with a general lack of knowledge about chronic pain and the management options that are available.

It is hoped that this evidence based guideline will provide the information needed to improve clinical outcomes and quality of life for patients with chronic pain.  The guideline states that Acupuncture should be considered for short term relief of pain for patients with chronic low back pain or osteoarthritis.

Arthritis Research UKThe medical research charity Arthritis Research UK has launched a new self-help guide aimed at people with long-term musculoskeletal pain.

Prof Candy McCabeThe guide explains the different types of pain, where people can get treatment and advice such as pain management centres and clinics, and has sections on specific treatments and therapies such a cognitive behavioural therapy and other psychological therapies and physical rehabilitation approaches.  There is also an interactive section which outlines ways in which people can manage their pain themselves, encouraging them to complete pain diaries and set achievable goals.

You can read the guide on the ARMA site here, or you can read more about the project and access the PDF via the Arthritis Research UK website.