Musculoskeletal conditions

Musculoskeletal conditions (MSK) are a range of over 200 disorders which affect the joints, bones, muscles and soft tissues. While rarely fatal, they can be very debilitating and can have a significant social and economic impact on a person's life. Estimates from the Labour Force Survey (2016) suggest 30.8 million days of sickness absence/working days were lost in 2016 (all people aged 16+ in employment) from MSK conditions, while the Health and Safety Executive estimate they account for 41% of the total of all work-related ill health (2015/16). The working-age population JSNA has further details.

Key findings - prevalence

Figures from the 2016/17 Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) indicate that across the Lancashire and South Cumbria Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) area there are 11,718 persons (aged 16+) with a confirmed diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis and 2,682 persons (aged 50+) living with osteoporosis. Additional analysis found that six of the eight local CCGs have significantly high levels of recorded rheumatoid arthritis prevalence compared to England (0.7%). These are NHS Blackpool (0.9%), NHS Chorley and South Ribble (0.9%), NHS Fylde and Wyre (1.0%), NHS Greater Preston (0.8%), NHS Morecambe Bay (0.9%) and NHS West Lancashire (0.8%). In addition, NHS Blackpool (0.6%) and NHS Fylde and Wyre (0.6%) were found to have significantly higher prevalence of osteoporosis compared to England (0.5%).

Over 95,000 people (aged 16-64) are estimated to have a MSK, rising to over 180,000 for all people 16+. Local research from the health behaviours JSNA indicates 12% of those aged 16-64 in Lancashire-12 have sciatica, lumbago or recurring backache, with those aged 55-64 significantly more likely to have one of these conditions (20%) when compared to those aged 16-24 (4%)

MSK is an area that is considered to be under reported by the QOF disease registers, due to disparity between the recorded prevalence and prevalence estimates taken from research studies which can vary widely, with one such study suggesting that a fifth of the population (aged 16+) will consult a GP about an MSK related condition each year.

Table 1: estimated prevalence rates by age/sex, UK

 Sex 16-44 45-64 65-74 75+ All ages 16+
Male 6.0% 16.4% 25.1% 26.1% 12.6%
Female 6.6% 22.6% 36.1% 42.8% 18.3%
All 6.3% 19.5% 30.9% 36.1% 15.6%
Source: A Heavy Burden: The Occurrence and Impact of Musculoskeletal conditions in the UK today (table 5), 2011

Table 2: Percentage prevalence of hip and knee osteoarthritis in all people (2002 to 2015)

 

Hip osteoarthritis

Knee osteoarthritis

Area

45-64

65-74

75+

45-64

65-74

75+

Blackburn with Darwen

11.7%

12.1%

11.0%

20.1%

20.7%

17.1%

Blackpool

12.1%

12.7%

11.6%

20.9%

21.5%

17.8%

Lancashire-12

11.1%

11.6%

10.5%

19.0%

19.5%

16.1%

England

10.3%

11.4%

10.9%

15.8%

19.2%

18.6%

Source: Arthritis Research UK, 2017

For further details, please see the Arthritis Research UK musculoskeletal calculator and the 'State of musculoskeletal health 2017' report (PDF 949 KB)

Page updated November 2017