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.

Publicity

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 groups@nras.org.uk 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 membership@nras.org.uk

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.

Public Health England, as part of its ‘One You’ campaign, today (24 August 2017) reveals that 4 out of 10 (41%) adults aged 40 to 60 in England walk less than 10 minutes continuously each month at a brisk pace.

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, according to evidence reviewed by Public Health England (PHE).

The findings also reveal how lifestyles have changed over time, showing that people in the UK are 20% less active now than they were in the 1960s and on average walk 15 miles less a year than 2 decades ago. The sedentary nature of modern, busy lives makes it difficult for many to find the time for enough exercise to benefit their health.

PHE’s 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. This is particularly aimed at those who have an inactive or low activity lifestyle and may find incorporating activity into their day challenging. The ‘Active 10’ app has been developed to show how much brisk walking a person is doing each day and how to incorporate more of it into their lifestyles.

Taking at least one brisk 10 minute walk a day has been shown to reduce the risk of early death by 15%. A 10 minute walk can contribute to meeting the CMO’s physical activity guidance of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise each week. This can lead to health benefits including a lowered risk of type 2 diabetes (by 40%), cardiovascular disease (by 35%), dementia (by 30%) and some cancers (by 20%).

The severity of the current physical inactivity epidemic amongst adults contributes to 1 in 6 deaths in the UK and is costing the NHS over £0.9 billion per year.

Dr Jenny Harries, Deputy Medical Director at PHE, said:

I know first-hand that juggling the priorities of everyday life often means exercise takes a back seat.

Walking to the shops instead of driving or going for a brisk 10 minute walk on your lunch break each day can add many healthy years to your life. The Active 10 app is a free and easy way to help anyone build more brisk walking into their daily routine.

The free app combines walking intensity and time, rather than just distance or steps and is the first of its kind. It helps people gradually introduce more activity into their daily routine, with goal setting advice and motivational tips. It has already helped 50,000 adults get more active.

Professor Sir Muir Gray, Clinical Adviser for the Active 10 app and the One You campaign, said:

We all know physical activity is good for your health, but for the first time we’re seeing the effects that easily achievable changes can make. By walking just 10 continuous minutes at a brisk pace every day, an individual can reduce their risk of early death by 15%. They can also prevent or delay the onset of disability and further reduce their risk of serious health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, dementia and some cancers.

The Active 10 app was developed by PHE in collaboration with The University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University and the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine.

Search ‘Active 10’ to download the free app which shows how much brisk walking you are currently doing and provides tips and encouragement on how to fit ten minute bursts of brisk walking into your daily routine.

On Tuesday 5 July, Arthritis Research UK held a parliamentary reception which more than 60 MPs attended. The reception had a range of activities for MPs including speaking to people living with arthritis, trying our interactive station, as well as learning how many people in their local area may have the condition. In advance of the event, over 300 people emailed their MPs asking them to attend the reception. Many of the MPs who came said it was because their constituent had flagged the event with them. Campaigners Christine Walker and Cat Priddey both attended the reception to speak to MPs about the realities of living with arthritis.
See the full-size photo from the event.

Launch of multimorbidity report

This month, Arthritis Research UK has launched a report exploring why it’s essential to consider musculoskeletal conditions when planning how our health system tackles multimorbidity.
Multimorbidity, which means living with two or more long-term conditions, is becoming increasingly common. Alongside an ageing population, multimorbidity will have a substantial impact on our future health and care services. The NHS’s Five Year Forward View and the General Practice Forward View both recognise that the healthcare system must adapt to meet the growing demands of multimorbidity. It must move away from a focus on single diseases to a system which holistically considers the needs of people with multiple long-term conditions.

Good musculoskeletal health underpins living well and independently with multimorbidity, however, musculoskeletal conditions are too often overlooked. This report sets out why musculoskeletal conditions must be included in future plans to address multimorbidity and makes clear recommendations for change.

Core Skills in Musculoskeletal Care

We know that each year 20% of people in the UK consult their GP about a musculoskeletal problem. The free online programme from Arthritis Research UK, ‘Core Skills in Musculoskeletal Care’ will allow health professionals to increase confidence in assessment, diagnosis, investigation and treatment of MSK problems. The module has been developed in conjunction with the RCGP and has received educational endorsement from NICE. The package is worth 5 CPD points and takes 30 minutes to complete each module. If you’re short of time then you can do the new bitesize version ‘Five minutes to musculoskeletal care’ which launched last month. If you would like to receive education and training updates from Arthritis Research UK you can join our healthcare professional network.

The Edgar Stene Prize 2018 competition is open to people 18 years and over who are living with a Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal (RMD) disease. The 2018 prize will be awarded to the winning essay on the topic:

 “My personal champion – supporting my everyday life with a rheumatic and musculoskeletal disease (RMD)”

For many people with RMDs it can be a long journey to receive the right diagnosis and appropriate treatment for their condition. The competition invites entrants to write about their personal experience. As the UK’s national member organisation of EULAR–PARE, ARMA will appoint a judging panel to decide upon the one essay we will submit to the competition on behalf of the UK. Please let us know if you would like to be part of the judging panel by emailing Maristela at projects@arma.uk.net by Friday 1st December 2017.  

Please submit all completed essays to Maristela at projects@arma.uk.net by Friday 21st December 2017. Each entry should not exceed 2 pages (A4) and be submitted along with information about the author. Please see the full competition rules and letter to member organisations with further details on the essay theme.

The overall Stene Prize winner, chosen by a EULAR jury, will be announced by 15th March 2018. The Stene Prize winner will be awarded a prize of € 1,000 and will be invited to attend the Opening Plenary Session of the EULAR Congress in Amsterdam (13th June 2018) with travel and accommodation covered. The runner up will be awarded €700 and third place awarded €300.