Promoting musculoskeletal health

Over the last five years the proportion of people aged over sixteen in England who report long-term back, joint, or arthritis problems has little changed.  Standing at 18.8% in the year ending March 2018, the figure as at the year ending March 2023 had only eased slightly to 18.4%.

That’s one reason why the WorkWell scheme which we covered in our May 2024 article is so important; helping individuals to live and work with long term including musculoskeletal conditions. This new data also helps to illustrate just why those who work in fields such as physiotherapy, osteopathy, and pain management are under constant time pressure as they look to meet the needs of those with ongoing musculoskeletal problems.

Delve beneath the data and some interesting trends emerge. The numbers of emergency hospital admissions for hip fractures in the over 65s and rheumatoid arthritis prevalence in the over 16s are little changed over the time period covered by the data. However, the prevalence of osteoporosis in over 50s has risen from a low of 0.17% in 2014/15 to 0.97% in 2022/23. This echoes an ongoing trend over a longer time period which experts have put down to an increase in worldwide population aging.

According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, the condition is now being seen as the fourth leading cause of chronic disease morbidity in Europe, behind ischemic heart disease, dementia and lung cancer. And although osteoporosis is primarily a female disease, statistics show that the residual lifetime risk of developing osteoporosis in men aged over 50 is actually higher than the risk of them developing prostate cancer.

The musculoskeletal health data was one element of a suite of new health trends in England data released by the Department of Health and Social Care. The underlying data comes from Fingertips, a large public health data bank. According to the Department of Health and Social Care the data will now be updated and released on a monthly basis.

Other health trends data released as part of the same programme looks at areas such as life expectancy, smoking, obesity, childhood development and anxiety. Here again the underlying data makes interesting reading. Some, such as the graph showing deaths from preventable causes, reveal quite clearly the effect of the Covid Pandemic on mortality rates. Other graphs potentially might indicate the benefit of proactive interventions or improved medical care. For example, stroke prevalence has seen a rise from 1.7% to 1.8% over the past twelve years and yet deaths from strokes in the under 75s has fallen from 15.2 to 12.6 per 100,000. Sadly, some of the statistics provided starkly illustrate a worsening health challenge with diabetes, heart failure, atrial fibrillation and hypertension all revealing upward trends.

Clinic Appointments offers backup services to practitioners primarily working in the health sector. From telephone answering and diary management to the provision of patient records software, Clinic Appointments aims to provide a professional service to clients of health providers, thereby enabling the providers in turn to focus on client treatments.