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.

It is difficult to produce an accurate prevalence of musculoskeletal conditions as the estimates from national research vary widely as do the conditions, although it is suggested a fifth of the population (aged 16+) will consult a GP about a MSK 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

Key findings for Lancashire-14

  • 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%).
  • The highest estimated prevalence of hip osteoarthritis is in the 65-74 age group in Blackpool (12.1%), (England 10.3%). 
  • For knee osteoarthritis the estimated figures show the highest prevalence is in the 65-74 age group in Blackpool (21.5%), (England, 19.2%).

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 July 2017