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


Interventions to increase physical activity

We know that keeping active is important for maintaining MSK health. The challenge is always how to encourage people to be more active. This themed review from NIHR provides some evidence about what works (and what doesn’t).

The review outlines evidence from over 50 studies of what is effective in getting people more active. Evaluations range from programmes in schools and communities to changes in transport and the environment, which are designed to promote greater activity. The report summarises the evidence and includes prompts for reflection to help make practical use of the findings.

The review covers studies of:

  • Early years
  • Children of primary school age
  • Young people of secondary school age
  • Adults
  • Workplace changes
  • Older adults
  • Changes to the built and natural environments

It shows which interventions are effective and some which looked promising but showed no long term increase in activity. Perhaps unsurprisingly the review shows that there are no single solutions. What may drive us to keep and stay active depends on who we are, where we live, and wider system issues. Moving Matters will be a useful resource for anyone looking at what might help increase activity levels and so increase MSK health.

Designing care for people living with both mental health problems and persistent back and neck pain

by Jenna Collins, Marketing and Communications Manager, Q Labs, The Health Foundation

In September 2018, the Q Improvement Lab (part of the Health Foundation) and Mind embarked on a year-long collaboration to understand how care can be improved across mental health and persistent back and neck pain.

The Q Lab and Mind have recently shared the first insights from this work, drawing on the experiences of over 100 collaborators to give an overview of why this challenge warrants attention and promising opportunities to improve care. A small number of organisations are now developing and testing ideas and the findings will be shared later this year.

Read essays, learning and insights from the Mental health and persistent back and neck pain project.

Last year, ARMA members helped Glykeria Skamagki, the senior lecturer in Physiotherapy at Coventry University, with the first stage of a study into chronic musculoskeletal conditions and their management at the workplace. The results were very interesting and now to follow-up the researchers are conducting a survey to identify the strategies that older employees use to manage chronic musculoskeletal conditions at the workplace.

The aim is to understand the problems highlighted at the interview stage, explore the opinion of the larger population, and ultimately to help people work better. All these become especially important since the changing of the retirement age and state pension age.

An introduction to the research project is available here, and you can participate in the ‘Survey on chronic musculoskeletal disorders’ via this link.

IMplementation of Physical Activity into routine Clinical pracTice in Rheumatic Musculoskeletal Disease

The IMPACT-RMD study aims to raise awareness on the importance of physical activity in people with Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Diseases (RMDs). The goal is to help and support managing healthcare practitioners to understand more about physical activity as well as incorporate/include physical activity advice in clinical consultations.

Physical activity has multiple different benefits for RMDs, including better quality of life, better fitness and sleep, less fatigue and pain while it can also reduce inflammation. We believe it is necessary that alongside medication, physical activity is used to better manage symptoms.

There is a team comprised of research experts and patient organizations from across seven countries, with support from the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) and the EULAR People with Arthritis and Rheumatism (PARE) organizations.

You are invited to participate in the study by filling-in the survey questionnaire.

The is survey, which takes no more than 10-15 minutes to complete, requests information on symptoms and the affect the have every day, as well as questions on physical activity.

Your feedback is important to us and will be used to develop a proposal and recommendations on specific interventions that will be centred on the patients’ needs.

Participation is entirely voluntary. The IMPACT-RMD has also developed the questionnaire in such a way that all the data you provide are anonymous. There are no correct or wrong answers, since your personal view on the topic is requested.

This project will provide useful information that will improve significantly clinical management and disease symptoms for RMDs. Email any questions directly to the principal investigator: or the researchers that will be responsible for the data collection and analyses: and  

A team of researchers and clinicians from the University of East Anglia’s School of Health Sciences and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are looking for contributors/partners to help in their next project. The project would involve an application for NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (tier 3) funding.

Their aim is to develop a computerised tool to support physiotherapists and patients working together in a more holistic and patient-centred way. Their intention is to work together to improve the outcomes that are important for patients.

Please contact Rachel Chester [] PhD, Lecturer in Physiotherapy or Helena Daniell [], Research and Practice Development Lead Physiotherapist.

The ARMA Alliance with Versus Arthritis and the British Orthopaedic Association voiced its concerns previously about rationing of joint replacement surgery for people with MSK conditions. ARMA published a position paper on this in 2017.

So what does the latest data tell us about hip surgery? In June, Deborah Ward and Lillie Wenzel from the policy team at The King’s Fund published a blog post: ‘A new trend in elective hip surgery’. They examine the trend in hip replacements, health gain and health gain reported by patients and interpret these trends. Are the trends symptoms of a service under pressure?

Read their article in full via the King’s Fund website.

Exploring the perspectives of young patients with chronic, inflammatory arthritis on patient-reported outcome measures

Having completed Phase 1 of the YoungPro project (focus groups in four different European countries with young people with inflammatory arthritis and the first Task Force meeting), EULAR has developed a survey to be spread across Europe to gather additional information around this topic.

The European League Against Rheumatism Task Force aims to incorporate the perspective of young people with inflammatory arthritis in patient reported outcomes (PROs). To reach this goal, we intended to identify common themes that are important to young people with inflammatory arthritis and to explore if they are covered by the most commonly used PROs. Questionnaires and rating scales are referred to as patient‐reported outcome measures and are completed by patients to reflect their individual perspective. They have become an integral part in assessing disease activity and the impact of disease on individuals and by that influencing treatment decisions, ideally taken together between the patient and the physician.

The study team consists of international rheumatology researchers, health professionals and patient research partners. Currently used patient-reported outcome measures (such as those looking at pain, fatigue and physical functioning) may not capture everything that matters to young people with arthritis.

For this reason, the survey is designed for young people (aged 18 to 35 years) with inflammatory arthritis (including juvenile idiopathic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, spondyloarthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and Still’s disease). Those having been diagnosed with one of these conditions are welcome to take part in the survey. Those above the age of 35 are also welcome to take part in this survey. This information will then be compared to the younger age group.

This survey consists of two parts:

  1. A section asking general questions about you and your health;
  2. A second part, asking about personal experiences with patient‐reported outcome measures.

In order to maximise the reach and overcome the language barrier, the survey was translated in 7 languages (English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Russian).

It takes about 15 minutes to complete the survey and EULAR is sincerely thankful for your support in spreading the survey to reach as many people as possible!

Find the questionnaire here:

On 8 May, Versus Arthritis published a new policy report looking at the impact of home aids and adaptations for people with arthritis, and the barriers that people face when trying to access them. Read the full report here, which includes powerful stories from people with arthritis who benefit from aids and adaptations.

We found that aids and adaptations – from perching stools and grabbing tools, to grab rails and stair lifts – can help people with arthritis, and related conditions such as back pain, achieve a better quality of life and maintain their independence in the home.

60% of all people with arthritis, across all genders, ages, and severity of condition, used an aid or adaptation. Of those, 95% felt that these products had a positive impact on their lives. However, too few people are aware of the support available to them. 

The report makes recommendations to both local and central government that would help widen access to these vital services.