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


EULAR has funded a project aimed at understanding the development, evaluation and implementation of mobile phone applications for self-management in patients with rheumatic diseases.

Following a systematic literature teview, the project task force is now at a stage where it would like to gain insights into the patient’s views, perceptions and current use of health apps for self-management.

EULAR therefore kindly asks you to fill in the following survey:
It takes 5 to 10 minutes to complete.

Pain Alliance Europe are asking for responses to the 2018 edition of the Survey on Chronic Pain, which highlights how pain can affect the work-life of pain patients.

The charities who are members of Pain Alliance Europe (PAE) are inviting people with chronic pain or their carers to fill in this short survey on the effect of their chronic pain on their quality of life, their work situation and about any financial help they receive. The survey starts with some basic questions.

This is the second survey that PAE has created on the theme of chronic pain, in a series of annual surveys on the impact of pain. With each survey, PAE will analyse a different aspect of the impact of pain on the quality of life of the chronic pain patients in Europe.

A report will be created at the end of this survey, comparing the pain patients’ experiences in different countries. This report will be publicised by Pain Alliance Europe in order to reinforce their actions and promotions in order to make politicians and policy makers more aware of the important issue of chronic pain.

You can also follow @pain_europe on Twitter and share the poster [PDF].


The University of Salford and the James Lind Alliance are leading a Priority Setting Partnership (PSP) which will ensure the perspectives of patients, carers and health care practitioners inform future research priorities for charities and funding agencies (such as NIHR). This PSP is an important step forward in understanding the current foot health research priorities across the UK, bringing patients, their carers and clinicians together to identify and prioritise unanswered questions about the effects of treatments (‘treatment uncertainties’) in specific conditions or areas of healthcare need.

The Steering Group is hoping ARMA members will participate in this unique exercise.

A PSP allows clinicians and patients to decide what research should be done, rather than researchers. The James Lind Alliance provides a specific methodology to achieve this and has become a trusted partner to many major charities across the UK. The top ten research priorities will inform all future research spending by the William M. Scholl Endowment Trust (who is also funding the PSP) and it

is expected that other agencies will also adhere to the outcomes (such as NIHR).

This is therefore an opportunity to help guide how millions of pounds will be spend on research over the next decade. As part of the James Lind Alliance methodology a small (12-15) but influential Steering Group is used and its role is to support the leadership of the PSP. Steering group members with direct relevant experience as patients, carers or health care professionals will be invited to participate in the priority setting exercise.

Where does the ARMA membership come in? Taking part in the PSP, by completing the survey when it has been developed later this year, will be a unique opportunity to help shape and address the focus of future foot health research questions that really matter. This is a chance to ensure that foot health research has direct relevance to those that matter; and that there is a clear, transparent pathway to a lasting impact on the future of foot health management.

On the James Lind Alliance website you can read about the JLA and PSPs past and present to help you understand the process and outcomes of the priority setting agenda in more detail.

The Foot Health PSP web site is here:

The recently published results of a LUPUS UK survey have revealed that lupus patients in the UK experience an average delay of 6.4 years between developing initial symptoms and reaching a diagnosis. In addition, the survey showed no change in this delay to diagnosis over recent decades despite efforts to improve identification and diagnosis of the disease.

The results of this survey, which was a collaboration between Manchester researchers and LUPUS UK, demonstrate that further work is needed to raise awareness of lupus amongst both healthcare professionals and patients in the UK to recognise the early symptoms and signs of the disease.

Almost three-quarters of individuals with lupus experience symptoms that limit their ability to carry out their daily activities, so a delay in diagnosis and treatment are having a significant impact on patients’ long-term physical, emotional, and financial wellbeing. These findings suggest a clear agenda for further patient focused research to increase awareness of lupus, identify better and more effective therapies and improve support for patients and overall quality of life.

Studies have shown that lupus affects approximately 25-96 per 100,000 people in the UK, but it is not known how many more cases of lupus are currently undiagnosed due to poor awareness and a lack of specialist referrals.

A summary of the key findings from the survey can be found on the LUPUS UK website.

ESCAPE-pain is a 6 week rehabilitation programme for individuals with knee and hip osteoarthritis which aims to educate participants on their condition, self-management and coping strategies as well as exercise. The Health Innovation Network, the Academic Health Science Network, has been working hard for the past 3+ years to spread the adoption of ESCAPE-pain across the U.K, and recently, has been awarded a grant by Sport England as part of their ‘Active Ageing’ project to target inactive adults in particular and increase access to the programme.

As part of our preliminary research efforts to identify new potential settings in which to deliver ESCAPE-pain, we have put together a very short survey of only 6 questions, to try and understand potential user preferences. If you are an adult aged 55+ and have experience of living with osteoarthritis, or any other exercise restricting condition, we would really appreciate it if you could take just 3 minutes to complete it by following this link:

The survey will not ask any personal questions, and will be kept completely anonymous.
For more information please visit our website.

Accredited pharmacists in England, Wales and Northern Ireland can offer an enhanced patient service called a Medicines Use Review (MUR).  This structured review is free to patients, and is designed primarily to help them manage their medicines more effectively.  Little is known about how often this service is used for people living with pain. We know little about pharmacists’ and pain patients’ views of what happens in pain-related MURs, or why they don’t engage, and what they would like to happen.

We know GPs and pharmacists do not collaborate well over MURs but not enough about why. If we knew more about how best to use MURs for pain patients, we could significantly reduce their suffering. Hence the aim of this research is to optimise the MUR service for pain patients, pharmacists and GPs.

Objective 1: To establish how many Medicines Use Reviews are conducted for pain patients within a UK sample, using these data to estimate national usage. We will also investigate any trends regarding who does pain-related MURs and related demographic variables if the sample size allows. This objective will be achieved via an online survey with appropriate statistical analyses of numerical data. In practice, it is nearly always community pharmacists who conduct MURs, so we will focus on them, henceforth simply calling them “pharmacists”.

Objective 2: To explore what would constitute an optimum pain-related MUR service, according to the views of the three key groups of stakeholders: pain patients, pharmacists and GPs. We will conduct in-depth interviews with 30 community pharmacists, 30 pain patients and 30 GPs about three key issues. Firstly, we will explore their views of MURs: what currently happens, what they would like to happen in an optimal future, and how many pain-related MURs they engage in (patients/pharmacists) or receive information about (GPs). If NHS England has proposed any changes to MURs, as has been suggested may happen, we will also investigate participants’ views on these. Secondly, we will research how these three groups think MURs could impact on analgesic medicines optimisation, notably opioid prescribing, a topical clinical issue.  Thirdly, we will research if our three stakeholder groups think MURs could discuss the impact of pain on work, given that work can be a key health outcome yet is not currently included. We will conduct thematic analysis on our interview data, and engage participants with checking analyses as part of our co-creation of new knowledge about what is needed to optimise MURs

Objective 3: To combine our data analysis with stakeholder input and relevant resources, following behaviour change and implementation science guidelines, producing 3 templates to help pharmacists, pain patients and GPs optimise use of MURs.

Objective 4: To evaluate these 3 templates via an online stakeholder study, which includes patients/pharmacists trying the templates, so they are fully ready for a future trial.


This project is a cost-effective way to benefit pain patients’ lives by supporting them to engage effectively with MURs. It should also benefit pharmacists and GPs, since our best practice templates enable optimum MUR use.

Pain is a good exemplar of conditions labelled as having medically unexplained symptoms so this research has great potential for application to MURs for other conditions that can have unexplained elements like depression, anxiety and fatigue. There is a very similar service to the MUR in Scotland called the Chronic Medication Service – we focus on MURs here but much of our work should be applicable to the Scottish service in considering how to maximise medicines optimisation and whether work can be a part of the conversation within a medicines review framework. A recent review showed that not enough is known about the current state and potential of MURs and it is imperative that this is addressed, to reduce the suffering to themselves and others that pain patients currently endure.

Elaine Wainwright, Senior Lecturer in Applied Psychology
Bath Spa University

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