Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance

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



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