Nature and Causes

Osteoarthritis is the most common problem affecting human joints, causing pain, stiffness, weakness, joint instability, and reduced range of motion.  It most commonly affects hands, hips and knees causing loss of dexterity and mobility.

Rheumatoid arthritis has a prevalence of between 1 and 3 percent in most countries. It is characterised by inflammation of the joints and other tissues, and may result in tiredness, fatigue, weight loss, fever, pain, and deformity of the joints and disability.

Back pain is extremely common in both industrialized and developing countries, with up to half of workers suffering at least one episode each year. More than 80 percent of people in most industrialized countries will have back pain in their lifetime. Back pain results in 800,000 DALYs lost yearly and is an important cause of absence from work, resulting in significant economic losses. Nearly 40 percent of back pain is related to occupational risk factors, such as poor lifting behaviors, many of which can be prevented.
Osteoporosis is caused by low bone mass and deterioration in the bone structure, which leads to fracture after mild or moderate trauma. The most common fractures occur in the arms, vertebrae, and hips. Fracture risk increases with age and has an important impact on quality of life, mortality, and health care costs in most countries.