Musculoskeletal conditions are common in men and women of all ages across all socio-demographic strata of society. They are the most common cause of severe long-term pain and physical disability and affect hundreds of millions of people around the world. They impact on all aspects of life through pain and by limiting activities of daily living typically by affecting dexterity and mobility. They affect one in four adults across Europe . Musculoskeletal conditions have an enormous economic impact on society through both direct health expenditure related to treating the sequelae of the conditions and indirectly through loss of productivity. The prevalence of many of these conditions increases markedly with age, and many are affected by lifestyle factors, such as obesity and lack of physical activity. The burden of these conditions is therefore predicted to increase, in particular in developing countries. The impact on individuals and society of the major musculoskeletal conditions is reviewed and effective prevention, treatment and rehabilitation considered. The need to recognise musculoskeletal conditions as a global public health priority is discussed.
Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier Ltd.