Key facts and figures

MSK Statistics Summary developed by Public Health England in collaboration with ARMA, our UK network

A summary of MSK Statistics has been developed by Public Health England in collaboration with the Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance (ARMA), the UK network of the Global Alliance for Musculoskeletal Health. The aim of developing this summary paper is to enable the commissioning and provision of high value MSK services in England.

Other countries may be interested in developing the same sort of summary to guide the delivery high value services delivered at point of need.

Download the PDF file .


facts_figures[1]Key facts from The Global Burden of Disease 2012

•Musculoskeletal conditions include joint diseases such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis; back and neck pain; osteoporosis and fragility fractures; soft tissue rheumatism; injuries due to sports and in the workplace; and trauma commonly related to road traffic accidents

•They cause pain, physical disability and loss of personal and economic independence

•They affect millions of people of all ages in all cultures and in all countries

•Current estimates of people affected worldwide (Lancet 15 December 2012)

•Back pain 632.045 million
•Neck pain 332.049 million
•OA knee 250.785 million
•Other musculoskeletal conditions 560.978 million

•They are the second greatest cause of disability, as measured by years lived with disability (YLDs) worldwide and across most regions of the world (Lancet 15 December 2012)

•As a group musculoskeletal disorders cause 21·3% of all years lived with disability (YLDs) (this is second only to mental and behavioural disorders which account for 22.7% of YLDs)

•The main contributors are low back pain (83.1 million YLDs), neck pain (33.6 million YLDs), osteoarthritis (17.1 million YLDs) and the other musculoskeletal category. Osteoarthritis of the knee accounts for 83% of the osteoarthritis total.

•The leading cause of disability worldwide are low back pain contributing 10.7% of total YLDs (major depression contributes 8.1%).

•They have the fourth greatest impact on the health of the world population, considering both death and disability (DALYs) (Lancet 15 December 2012)

•Musculoskeletal disorders account 6.8% DALYs

•Low back pain accounts for nearly one half, neck pain one fifth, and osteoarthritis about 10%.

•Ranking of major causes of death and disability (% DALYs)

•Cardiovascular and circulatory diseases 11.8%

•All neoplasms 7.6%

•Mental and behavioural disorders 7.4%

•Musculoskeletal disorders 6.8%

•Disability due to musculoskeletal disorders is estimated to have increased by 45% from 1990 – 2010 (Lancet) compared to a 33% average across all other disease areas. Osteoarthritis is the fastest increasing major health condition. This relates to ageing of the population, increased obesity and lack of physical activity.

•Disability due to musculoskeletal conditions can be effectively prevented by currently available interventions, such as accident prevention, modern treatment of arthritis and injuries, and by rehabilitation.

•The growing burden can be controlled if priority and resources are given to ensure access to these interventions.

For information on the Global Burden of Disease in the Lancet, please follow this link

For European data please click on the following link to the project



For Data from the USA please visit the Burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases in the United States