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.


Press release
12 October 2017

A new study found that over the last 20 years, the number of people suffering disability from low back and neck pain increased by nearly 21 per cent in the UK*. The new analysis by the Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance using the Global Burden of Disease data also found that in 2016:

  • Low back and neck pain affected 11.9 million people in the UK.
  • 7 million people (8,668,634) in the UK suffered falls causing disability and death.
  • Nearly 5 million people in the UK were disabled by osteoarthritis and 3 million by other conditions of the bones joints and muscles.

Musculoskeletal conditions affect the bones, muscles and joints and account for an astounding one in five visits to the GP[1] and 30.8[2] million working days lost each year.

Professor Anthony Woolf, chair of ARMA said, “Risk factors such as obesity, poor diet and lack of physical activity are contributing to this rise in the population. To combat this, we need health policy that focusses on good lifelong bone, joint and muscle health and preventing and managing these conditions.”

Chief Executive of ARMA, Sue Brown, said, “ARMA is using Bone and Joint Week 2017 to call for urgent action to improve the way we deal with the bone, joints and muscle health at national, local and individual level so that we can tackle the enormous impact of musculoskeletal conditions on people. Doing so will help people live well, independently and actively. 


* Using the disability-adjusted life year (DALY) measure. This is a measure of overall disease burden, expressed as the number of years lost due to ill-health, disability or early death.

[1] Ref: Arthritis Research UK National Primary Care Centre, Keele University (2009), Musculoskeletal Matters.

[2] Ref: Labour Force Survey, ONS, 2016


For more information contact: Nita Parmar/Sue Brown on 0203 856 1978/0203 856 1979.

ARMA, the Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance, is the collective voice for the arthritis and musculoskeletal community in the UK. The Alliance comprises of 36 members including the major national patient-led charities, professional bodies and research organisations active in this area, as well as patient-led charities focusing on rare and complex musculoskeletal disorders. See for more information. For a full list of member organisations, visit Twitter: @WeAreARMA #BoneandJointWeek2017



The National Osteoporosis Society is pleased to announce that it will shortly be launching a new Research Strategy and grants funding round. The upcoming launch reiterates the continued and central importance that research has within the Charity.

The new strategy is the result of extensive consultation with academics, clinicians and people living with osteoporosis, and clearly outlines what the Charity wants to achieve through research over the next five to ten years, and how it plans to achieve it.

Whilst you’ll have to wait until 2nd October to find out all the details for our exciting new Research Strategy, for now we can share with you the strategy’s three main goals:

  • To ensure that we support research that makes a real difference – by working closely with others to agree what research should be carried out in the future.
  • To ensure researchers get the support they need to do great, life-changing work – by bringing researchers together, sharing ideas and helping tomorrow’s top researchers get started.
  • To ensure that research is always relevant for people affected by osteoporosis – by having strong involvement from people living with osteoporosis, allowing them to participate in studies, inform future research and hear the latest findings quickly so they can benefit as soon as possible.

Details of the full Research Strategy and grants round will be available from 2nd October at

The British Society for Rheumatology is delighted to have won the contract to deliver a three year national arthritis audit, which will be instrumental in improving patient care in England and Wales. This is one of the largest projects that they will undertake over the next few years, and involve over 200 hospitals across England and Wales.

Read the full news here.


Autumn Conference 2017

This event brings together the entire rheumatological profession, giving you a rare opportunity to discuss complex cases in an informal setting.

Whether you are a consultant, trainee, nurse or a rheumatology related health professional, this is a great chance to share and exchange clinical best practice in-depth, as well as add to your CPD points. Book your ticket now!


Paediatric Annual Conference 2017

This high-quality educational and networking event is the 2017 must-attend conference for health professionals working with children and young people in the field of rheumatology.

4th – 6th October 2017


Annual Conference 2018

Abstract submission is now open for the Annual Conference 2018 – this is an opportunity to showcase the advances you’ve made in clinical science and patient care. Please view instructions on our website for how to submit abstracts for this flagship rheumatology event.


Core Skills for Nurses and Health Professionals Course

A two-day intensive course for allied health professionals and nurses with a specialty in rheumatology.

15 – 16 November 2017
Keele University
Details and booking via this link.


The British Society of Rheumatology has recently launched Rheumatology Advances in Practice, which is a new online open-access rheumatology journal.
Find out more via this link to the Oxford University Press website.


BASEM is excited to launch its new partnership with OrthoEvidence (OE).

OE is the global source for summarized, high quality orthopaedic research from around the globe and the service will provide BASEM members with premium access to summaries and critical appraisals of high quality orthopaedic research making them part of a growing community of more than 37,000 practitioners who rely on the highest-quality orthopaedic research to help improve their practice. 60% of OE members surveyed last year even stated that they had changed their practice as a result of reading OE reports.

For further information of this new membership benefit, read more from the OrthoEvidence page on the BASEM website.

Cloudy and the University of Manchester are recruiting for a pioneering smartwatch study called Koalap (knee osteoarthritis: linking activity and pain) which starts in September. They are looking at the link between activity and knee pain.

This is part of the hugely successful Cloudy with a Chance of Pain study, which used citizen science phone app data to explore the relationship between weather and chronic pain conditions. Over 13,000 people took part and we featured on BBC’s “Trust Me, I’m a Doctor”, BBC Breakfast and ITV News, as well as all national newspapers.

For more information, open the poster from Koalap.

If you are interested in taking part in the Koalap study, email, or visit for more information.

By Chris Graham, Chief Executive, Picker Institute Europe

Arguments about the pressures on the NHS at a system level are well rehearsed; rising demand, financial restraint, and challenges around staffing numbers are well reported. But what of the impact of caring on healthcare professionals as people?

The NHS Staff Survey is an annual survey that aims to help providers to understand how it feels to work in the health service. In 2016, it recorded the experiences of more than 423,000 members of NHS staff – and provides fascinating insight into the health and wellbeing of NHS staff.

Some of the findings are troubling. Over the autumn of 2016, 60% of staff came into work despite feeling physically unable to perform their duties. Musculoskeletal (MSK) problems were a particular issue, with one in four (25%) reporting MSK problems resulting from work activities. MSK problems were even more prevalent in ambulance trusts: here, 41% of respondents and three in five (60%) ambulance technicians reported experiencing work-related MSK problems in the last three months.

Encouragingly, the staff survey does provide evidence that organisations can help to reduce MSK problems for staff. Organisations where higher percentages of staff respondents said that their employer “definitely” took positive action on health and wellbeing perhaps unsurprisingly reported lower percentages of staff respondents reporting MSK problems. The strong association between these measures shows the beneficial impact of pro-active approaches to health and wellbeing.

picker logoHealthcare professionals provide an indispensable role, often under difficult circumstances. Their employers rightly have a duty to look after them – and this should include a holistic approach to health that emphasises wellbeing and harm avoidance rather than simply remedial action.

Getting this right is important for staff, but is also vital to reducing pressure on services; organisations that take steps to prevent their staff from becoming patients will prevent sickness absences from stretching their workforce further.

I’d encourage you to take a look at how your organisation faired in the 2016 NHS staff survey – you can see the results here: What do you think of them? Soon, the 2017 survey will be circulated and it will be your opportunity to help us all understand what it’s actually like to work in the NHS in 2017; we need your opinions.

See ARMA’s page of resources related to Working with MSK.

British Society for Rheumatology publishes first UK guideline for the management of adults with Primary Sjögrens Syndrome

The first UK guideline on the care of adults with Primary Sjögren’s Syndrome has been published today by the British Society of Rheumatology. The guidelines are accredited by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) which recognises robust, evidence-based and critically evaluated high-quality processes applied to developing a clinical guideline.

Clinical guidelines are particularly important for patients with less common conditions like Sjögren’s because health professionals can lack confidence in managing treatment and care. Sjögren’s is a chronic, debilitating, multi-system condition predominantly affecting the moisture producing glands of the body, but also causing systemic effects. Patients often see health professionals from several different specialities because of the varied symptoms but health professionals are still quite likely to under-estimate the overall burden of their disease. The new guideline tackles that. It is a pragmatic, practical guide to management with straightforward advice and includes both non-pharmacological and pharmacological treatments.

Not only will the guideline be of particular interest to rheumatologists and other hospital based practitioners such as ophthalmologists, ear, nose and throat specialists, oral medicine experts and general physicians, but also dental practitioners, general practitioners and nurses. Patients struggle with the chronicity of the condition and are frustrated by the paucity of treatment and lack of medical knowledge about how best to manage it – this guideline gives health professionals the guidance they need to manage these patients.

The guideline was written by specialists from across the UK, alongside patients with the condition. The Guideline Working Group included an expert patient, a GP and an occupational therapist with a special interest in the fatigue and sleep problems suffered by patients with Sjögren’s and other chronic inflammatory conditions.

The guideline clarifies care of the dry eyes and mouth with special reference to oral candida and salivary gland enlargement. It extends into treatment of systemic disease and the assessment and management of pregnancy in affected women. Pharmacological treatments for systemic disease are extensively covered alongside helpful guidance on treatments that are not recommended.

Recommendations are not confined to the wholly medical. The guideline includes advice that will help patients to self-manage. Advice on reporting any painless glandular swelling that doesn’t settle due to the increased risk of lymphoma is recommended as is the provision of written information and details of appropriate support groups, on-line resources and graded exercise programmes for fatigue.

The guideline was published on 29 June 2017 in the Rheumatology Journal and is available to view, along with a full suite of guidelines, at

Liz Price, Consultant Rheumatologist with an interest in Sjögren’s Syndrome and lead author, commented: “I have a long-standing interest in the condition and have looked after many patients with it over the years. Patients and health professionals came together after identifying that the absence of a guideline was a problem we could solve together. I’m delighted to have played a part, working with a group of like-minded and committed individuals to create it. I’m certain that once implemented it will make a big difference to patients by improving the treatment and care they receive from their health professionals.

Bridget Crampton, patient representative on the Guideline Working Group and Team Leader on the helpline at the self-help charity British Sjögren’s Syndrome Association said: “I was very happy to be involved in this; it’s really important these vital medical guidelines include input from patients – they will clarify and standardise the diagnosis and treatment of people with Sjögren’s syndrome. We really need faster recognition and thus treatment of the condition. At present this can be a painfully slow process. I hope this guideline will be used in every GP practice and throughout the NHS.”

Elizabeth MacPhie, Consultant Rheumatologist and Chair of the British Society for Rheumatology’s Standards, Audit and Guidelines Working Group added: “Condition specific guidelines are so important for ironing out inconsistencies in practice and putting the evidence base at the heart of what we can do for our patients. Now we have published the Sjögren’s guideline the next challenge is raising awareness of it – colleagues both inside and beyond the speciality of rheumatology must know the Sjögren’s guideline is out there and ready to use”.


The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) launched its new Work Survey last week. This will investigate the experiences of people with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Adult Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA), any impact it has had on people’s ability to work and how it affects people in the workplace.

The research will allow NRAS to draw comparisons with its previous Work Survey 10 years ago and enable future campaigning to focus on matters that affect people with RA the most at work.

We would be grateful if you could pass on the link below and encourage your members with rheumatoid arthritis to complete the survey.

The survey and further details are available here:

Alternatively, if you would like to find out any further details, please contact Matt Bezzant, Policy and Public Affairs Manager, at

Arthritis Care published new research to launch our Wake up to arthritis campaign during Arthritis Care Week. The report, Hidden impact: Arthritis and mental wellbeing, revealed the huge emotional toll of living with arthritis. Findings are based on over 3,000 survey responses from people with arthritis.

Findings include:

  • 79 per cent feel anxious or depressed because of their arthritis
  • 89 per cent worry about how arthritis will affect their future independence
  • Four in five (80 per cent) have given up activities they enjoy
  • Half (50 per cent) feel isolated or lonely because of their arthritis

Find out more about this research and read the full report here.

Services and support

We are delighted to have been awarded significant grants of c£130,000 over three years from the City Bridge Trust towards our Young People and Families service in London, and £25,000 from the Masonic Charitable Foundation to set up 50 Arthritis Care Groups. Arthritis Care Northern Ireland has been awarded £10,750 towards our Living Well with Arthritis and Young People and Families services by the Mrs Maureen Boal Charitable Trust.

North East Hampshire and Farnham CCG have awarded Arthritis Care a contract to replicate part of our innovative West Berkshire service with them, with a focus on group workshops.

Asking candidates to wake up to arthritis

We want MPs to understand why arthritis matters, so in the run-up to the general election Arthritis Care asked our supporters to contact their parliamentary candidates about the impact of arthritis. 730 emails were sent to candidates across the UK, leading to queries from a number of candidates who wanted to know more and helping to raise awareness of arthritis in Parliament.

New research conducted by National Voices and Social Enterprise UK has found that only 13% of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) can clearly show that they are actively committed to pursuing social value in their procurement and commissioning decisions.

The Public Services (Social Value Act) 2012 requires commissioners to consider broader social, economic and environmental benefits to their area when making commissioning decisions. The Act was a response to the risk of competitive tendering focusing solely on cost at the expense of other forms of value. Consideration of broader social value when making commissioning decisions is vital to ensuring that the public pound is used as effectively as possible.

Download the full research findings.

The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) is running a new Work Survey and is pleased to be collaborating with the Centre for Musculoskeletal Research at the University of Manchester.

The Work Survey will investigate the experiences of people with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Adult Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA), any impact it has had on your ability to work and how it affects you in the workplace.

The research comes 10 years after the publication of the ‘I Want to Work’ report and will enable NRAS to draw comparisons about any progress achieved over the last decade in relation to work, health and disability.

We would be grateful if you could take approximately 30 minutes to complete our survey.

You can find details of the survey on our website [link live soon]

Alternatively, if you would like to find out any further details, please contact Matt Bezzant, Policy and Public Affairs Manager, at

The National Osteoporosis Society is embarking on a new project designed to support people with osteoporosis and fragility fractures to exercise safely. The charity is calling on health professionals and people with the condition to submit any questions they have about exercise and osteoporosis as they scope a Consensus Statement.

The new statement will be used to help standardise the information people living with osteoporosis receive about the best exercises and physical activity to safely strengthen bones. It will also help the National Osteoporosis Society to produce new publications and web based resources on exercise for people with the condition to use, based on the best evidence and expertise.

Please email Sarah Leyland with your questions and these will be used to shape the next stages of the project.


‘Stop at One’ refreshed

The National Osteoporosis Society’s Stop at One campaign, designed to encourage people over the age of 50 who have broken a bone to get themselves checked for osteoporosis, has had a refresh. The campaign was launched in 2013 and asks people to check their risk of osteoporosis via an online test.

Since the launch, thousands of people have taken the test and the charity will be following up with those who gave their consent to see what they have done as a result.