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


ASone wins European Award

NASS is delighted to announce our ASone website is the inaugural winner of the EULAR Young PARE Youth Award.

In summer 2017 NASS launched ASone, a platform aimed at young people with AS. It’s a community where young people can share their thoughts, feelings and experiences. ASone covers a range of issues including studying, relationships, managing AS and exercising.

Read more about ASone from the NASS website.


Axial Spondyloarthritis Seminar

NASS welcomed 40 osteopaths and chiropractors to our inaugural Axial Spondyloarthritis Seminar on 21 February.

Hosted by the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, the programme included talks from Dr Karl Gaffney (Consultant Rheumatologist), Mandy Rush and Andrea Lucchetti (Chiropractors), Zoe Clark (Osteopath) and Sally Dickinson from NASS.

All of the talks were met with enthusiasm and Dr Gaffney led a lively discussion around the most recent developments in AS and the issues that the groups of healthcare professionals face in referring people with suspected AS to a rheumatologist.

Read more about the event here.

The January edition of The Hypermobility Syndromes Association e-news is available here.

The HMSA will continue raising funds for their ‘Giving GPs the Tools’ campaign (outlined in the December ARMA newsletter) until 31st May 2018. The campaign, which will help people with heritable disorders of the connective tissue, and other hypermobility related health problems access appropriate care more easily, is allowing the HMSA to develop new information and a resources guide. The funds will also assist with the continuing development of professional training in the conditions we support. We have new plans, based on the ‘HMSA Kent Model’, which will make it far easier to transport to other geographical areas, you’ll find more about this in the next HMSA Journal, due in late Spring.

If you would like to read more, visit this post on the HMSA website.

The annual #HMSAware campaign will be largely focused on the ‘GP Tools’ campaign this year. You can follow this on twitter at #HMSAware and also see the #HelpUsHelp feed.

On 28 November 2017, the UK Gout Society joined forces with Welsh Assembly Members, doctors and other charities to help raise awareness of gout in Wales.

Speaking at the Welsh Assembly, Rhun ap Iorwerth AM, the Plaid Cymru Health Spokesperson who hosted the event, said: “The impact of musculoskeletal conditions in Wales is huge and we have a big job to limit that impact. Working together to raise awareness of gout must play a part. We know that gout is often seriously undertreated and greatly misunderstood.”

Arthritis Care Wales and the UK Gout Society called for the British Society for Rheumatology’s recent guidelines for managing gout to be fully implemented in Wales.

High profile parliamentary attendees included the Chair of the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee; the Minister for Social Care; and the Leader of Opposition and Welsh Conservatives.

Two leading gout experts also spoke about the burden of gout and diagnosis and treatment: Professor Ernest Choy, Head of Rheumatology and Translational Research, Cardiff University; and Dr Martin Bevan, Lead Clinician, Consultant Rheumatologist, Abertawe Bro Morgannwg UHB. Two people living with gout also talked about how gout affects their everyday lives and the importance of seeking help and support from a health professional.


UK Gout Society’s Friends newsletter


Take a moment to see the January 2018 edition of the UK Gout Society’s ‘Friends’ newsletter, which includes articles on:

  • New Year Charity Symphony Orchestra raises gout awareness on BBC South Today TV
  • Gout and Diet – how certain foods containing quercetin can reduce your uric acid levels
  • Meon Valley Orchestra – 10 March 2018, Fundraising concert in Portsmouth

Click here for the newsletter in PDF.

There are many reasons for organisations working in collaboration with others. Over the years I have worked to influence health and care policy I have seen many changes which could never have happened if organisations had not worked together on issues of common concern, even where opinions may differ on other issues.

Bone and Joint week 2017 in October showed how, with a bit of co-ordination, we can work together to speak louder than any one organisation alone. Bone and Joint Week is an international opportunity to raise awareness of issues related to all things musculoskeletal. It also contains days for arthritis, spinal, paediatric bone and joint conditions and osteoporosis. There was a lot of planned activity by different ARMA members.

ARMA co-ordinated social media activity to raise awareness of the week but also to amplify members own campaigns. NHS England and Public Health England got in on the act, publishing a blog post from ARMA Chair, Tony Woolf, to launch the week, and supporting the activity on twitter. By sharing our plans, ARMA enabled small organisations without much social media capacity to take part in celebrating the week and organisations with their own plans to reach a bigger audience. Everyone benefits from the increased impact.

We can see what a difference working together made. Compared with last year’s BJA week we saw around 30 times more reach, more people clicking through to our information, more retweets. But it doesn’t stop with one week. Across the whole year, ARMA will be working to enable our members to support each other and enabling increased debate and profile for musculoskeletal issues.

Why not get involved? Here are three things you can do:

Get involved – there’s strength in numbers.

On Wednesday 11th October, NRAS launched its new report, Work Matters, following a survey of over 1,500 people with rheumatoid arthritis.

The launch took place in Parliament and was attended by the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work- Penny Mordaunt MP, who spoke about the importance of work as a health outcome. The findings from this report will form much of NRAS’ campaigning going forward.

You can read the report here and can also order a hardcopy from this link.

World Arthritis Day

To celebrate World Arthritis Day and the ‘Don’t Delay, Connect Today’ campaign, we launched a new video to raise public awareness about the importance of early recognition, diagnosis and treatment in RA. The video was done in collaboration with Sandoz and the Oxford Academic Health Science Network. You can view the #AngryHand video on the official website.

The National Osteoporosis Society has a busy few days in the run up to this year’s World Osteoporosis Day on 20th October generating lots of activity in the local and national press on the charity’s social media channels.

The day was also used to highlight progress of the charity’s A Message to My Younger Self Campaign after President Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall’s own message was reported in a number of newspapers including The Daily Telegraph and Woman & Home magazine.

In addition, the charity also secured coverage in a number of local newspapers and radio stations as support groups in Portsmouth and Conwy lit up local landmarks in National Osteoporosis Society brand orange.

In a message to her younger self, she counselled eating a healthy diet with lots of vitamin D and taking plenty of exercise to ward off the bone-weakening condition.

The Duchess said that as a young woman she had been “blissfully unaware” of the causes and devastating effects of osteoporosis, but warned that it is too late to attempt to build up bone strength beyond the age of 30.

One of the challenges of promoting musculoskeletal health is the lack of profile in policy and amongst the public. This is where ARMA can really come into its own. By using the strength of our combined voice to amplify our key messages we can make more of an impact. You can join this combined voice and make us even more powerful.

It was great to see how many ARMA members supported the CSP’s initiative for older people’s day focused on falls prevention. By retweeting their animations we all helped to increase the reach. Another older people’s day initiative by a group of ARMA members and Public Health England pulled together five key messages around living well for longer, combining our efforts to have a louder voice.

I would encourage all readers of this newsletter to help with our next initiative – Bone and Joint Week, running 12–20 October. Many ARMA members have their own campaigns, alongside an ARMA twitter campaign throughout the week with infographics to illustrate key messages. Just follow @wearearma and use #boneandjointweek2017. NHS England and Public Health England are also supporting the week. If every reader of this newsletter were to tweet during the week our reach would be enormous, helping to raise the profile of MSK.

This isn’t just about making our voice heard on twitter. We can combine forces to influence policy as well. One example is concerns about rationing of joint surgery. The ARMA session at this year’s BOA Congress heard that 73 CCGs have policies on access to joint replacements that bear “little or no resemblance” to NICE guidelines. The audience was enthusiastic about surgeons and the BOA, joining forces with ARMA to raise this with politicians and the media. There are many other issues where a strong ARMA with involvement of members could make a real difference.

Unfortunately, in a world of scarce resources, it is often those who shout loudest who get priority. ARMA is here to make sure that your voice is loud enough.

NRAS will be launching its work report, Work Matters, in Parliament on 11th October. We are delighted that the Minister for Disabled People, Work and Health, Penny Mordaunt MP, will be joining us at the event. You can follow the proceedings live on twitter by following @NRAS_UK. The report will then be available to order or download from the NRAS website.

Upcoming NRAS events

The Cambridgeshire RA information evening will take place on 19th October from 7pm to 8.30pm (refreshments from 6.45pm) with the support of the rheumatology team at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust. This free event takes place at The Cass Centre on the Cambridge University Press Site (CB2 8BS). The meeting is open to anyone living with RA as well as their family members, carers, and health professionals.
If you wish to attend, please email or call Kim or Gill on 01628 823 524.

Rheum for You comes to Swindon and Wrexham

On World Arthritis Day, NRAS will be holding its first Rheum for You conference of the year at Wrag Barn Golf Club in Swindon. The next one after that is in Wrexham on 8th November. At both events we will have representatives from the local rheumatology teams as well as NRAS staff giving a range of excellent talks. 

For more information call Emma on 01628 823524 or email

NRAS Christmas Cards now on sale!

Our NRAS Christmas cards are now on sale! Featuring seven delightful designs including our new JIA card designed by Eilidh Milne, aged 8, who has JIA. Packs are still just £4 for 10 cards and delivery is still free of charge! Order yours today here!

Older People’s Day is celebrated on 1 October across the UK to coincide with the United Nations International Day of the Older Person (UNIDOP).

The Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance is proud to join people across the world on Older People’s Day in celebrating the achievements and contributions that older people make to our society.

The CSP has assembled a page of Older People’s Day promotional material, presentations for healthcare professionals containing falls data and custom exercises for older people, and resources to help set up your own OPD event.

You can follow Older People’s Day on Twitter via @OlderPeoplesDay and #OlderPeoplesDay.

NASS are delighted to launch the second in their series of three videos explaining what Ankylosing Spondylitis is and how it affects people.

The animation ‘Ankylosing Spondylitis – Not just Back Pain’ describes how AS can affect other joints, tendons and ligaments, along with other areas including the eyes, bowels and skin.

We hope you find the video interesting.

Please do share it to raise awareness of how AS affects 200,000 people in the UK.

The aim of Fibromyalgia Awareness Week is to raise awareness of fibromyalgia, and the impact it has on those living with fibromyalgia, and their friends and family. Given that fibromyalgia is an invisible disease, it is so important that we raise awareness of fibromyalgia, in order to broaden perceptions, knowledge and understanding of this condition.

During the week, we will be sharing different perspectives from people living with fibromyalgia; family members; volunteers, patient organisation representatives, and healthcare professionals, in order to raise awareness and challenge some of the misconceptions people have about fibromyalgia. 

To see how to get involved, open the Fibromyalgia Awareness Week 2017 information leaflet and download the thunderclap banner.

2nd – 6th October 2017

So many people in the UK have some form of back pain. It is estimated that around 30 million people will suffer from back pain this year.

The debilitating condition can start in early life, as demonstrated by the fact that about one in four children regularly experience back pain. This is why BackCare, the national back pain charity, has chosen “Back Care in Education” as its theme for Back Care Awareness week, which is to take place between the 2 and 6 October this year.

BackCare was set up nearly 50 years ago to support people with back or neck pain. It provides evidence-based information, advice and guidance to its members on how to avoid and manage back pain. Its Back Care in Education campaign is being delivered in partnership with a community interest company, named Kidsbacks4theFuture, which aims to create awareness amongst children of the importance of maintaining healthy postures and taking care of their backs for the rest of their lives.

Companies and organisations, in particular educational establishments, will be encouraged through the campaign to create awareness of how the growing bones of children and young people can be harmed through lack of awareness of the damage that can be caused by poor posture; carrying heavy school bags on one shoulder; and lack of calcium and vitamin D in diets. Packs will be available to teachers and others to enable talks and demonstrations to school children and students about the need to eat and drink well, and to exercise regularly. Educational providers will also be reminded that desks, chairs and computer stations used in schools and colleges need to be designed in a way that ensures that the spine is properly supported.

The campaign will be widely promoted through social media and there are plans to publish several articles and hold a number of media interviews.