About Musculoskeletal (MSK)

Musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions affect the joints, bones and muscles, and also include rarer autoimmune diseases and back pain.

More years are lived with musculoskeletal disability than any other long term condition.

There are more than 200 musculoskeletal conditions which:

  • affect 1 in 4 of the adult population (many being young and of working age)
  • account for 30% of GP consultations, in England
  • have an enormous impact on the quality of life of millions of people in the UK
  • are associated with a large number of co-morbidities, including diabetes, depression and obesity
  • account for over 25% of all surgical interventions in the NHS
  • MSK conditions are the biggest cause of working days lost each year in the UK, after coughs and colds.

The most common and disabling musculoskeletal conditions are osteoarthritis, back and neck pain, fractures associated with bone fragility, injuries and systemic inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Musculoskeletal conditions have a large impact on health and care services, society and the economy.