Today marks the start of Bone and Joint Week 2017, which runs from Thursday 12th October 2017 until Friday 20th October 2017. The purpose of Bone and Joint Week is to raise awareness of the huge impact that musculoskeletal conditions have on people living with such conditions, as well as their families and friends. In the UK, musculoskeletal conditions are the biggest cause of disability, and need to be prioritised in policy and practice, if we are to truly meet the needs of the millions of people in the UK living with these conditions day-in, day-out.
What are musculoskeletal conditions?
There are over 200 musculoskeletal conditions which affect the bones, muscles and joints, as well as impacting on other parts of the body as well. It is inevitable that at some point in our lives, nearly everyone will be affected by a musculoskeletal condition – either directly, or indirectly. Research states that musculoskeletal conditions are the biggest cause of disability and pain across the UK, affecting more individuals than any other disease group.
Musculoskeletal conditions can affect people of all ages, including children and young people. In the UK alone, at least 10 million adults and over 15,000 children have arthritis. If not treated appropriately, musculoskeletal conditions can affect many aspects of life, including studying, working, socialising and simple activities that most people take for granted, such as walking, cooking and getting dressed.
Taking action to address musculoskeletal conditions in society
Early diagnosis and timely access to treatment for musculoskeletal conditions is necessary to prevent further impact on the lives of those living with these conditions, as well as irreversible damage. Taking action to improve the way we deal with musculoskeletal health is important at a national, local and individual level, so that we can tackle the enormous impact of musculoskeletal conditions on people and society. Doing so helps people to live well, while maintaining their independence.