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Musculoskeletal conditions: urgent need for shift from treatment to prevention

25 July 2014 - 10:38am

Arthritis Research UK is calling for clinicians to change their approach from tackling musculoskeletal (MSK) disease to promoting good lifelong MSK health. 


Physiotherapists are ideally placed to provide prevention of MSK injury and resultant co-morbidities

In a report published on 24 July, the charity says there should be support to help people maintain and improve their MSK health, across all age groups.

‘For people with arthritis and other MSK conditions, perception must change from “nothing can be done”,’ says Arthritis Research UK.

Steve Tolan, CSP head of practice, welcomed the report. He said the World Health Organization’s Global Burden of Disease study suggests that MSK conditions are the leading cause of disability globally and in the UK.

‘Musculoskeletal Health - A public health approach’ calls for local communities to be resourced and enabled to develop support systems for people living with painful long-term MSK conditions.

The public health system should create an environment where MSK health is seen as a priority and barriers to good MSK health are removed.

The report makes a number of recommendations for change. These include:

  • all assessments of local and national population health must include MSK health
  • MSK health must be included in programmes targeting lifestyle factors, such as obesity and physical inactivity
  • the benefits of exercise to people with MSK conditions should be emphasised in health promotion messages
  • all public health activities must be underpinned by high quality data about MSK health

‘Physiotherapists are ideally placed to provide prevention of MSK injury and resultant co-morbidities,’ Mr Tolan said.

‘It is important for members to support CSP national influencing by advocating the contribution and expertise of physiotherapists in public health and physical activity.’

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