The global burden of other musculoskeletal disorders: estimates from the Global Burden of Disease 2010 study

Ann Rheum Dis. 2014 Aug;73(8):1462-9. doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2013-204680. Epub 2014 Mar 3.


Objective: To estimate disability from the remainder of musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders (categorised as other MSK) not covered by the estimates made specifically for osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), gout, low back pain and neck pain, as part of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2010 study.

Methods: Systematic reviews were conducted to gather the age-sex-specific epidemiological data for other MSK. The focus was on finding health surveys and published studies that measured the overall amount of MSK disorders and complaints, and classified the remainder of MSK disorders that was not RA, OA, gout, low back or neck pain. Six levels of severity were defined to derive disability weights (DWs) and severity distribution. The data, DWs and severity distribution were used to calculate years of life lived with disability (YLDs). Mortality was estimated for MSK-related deaths classified under other MSK. YLDs were added to years of life lost (YLLs) from the mortality estimates to derive overall burden in disability-adjusted life years (DALYs).

Results: Global prevalence of other MSK was 8.4% (95% uncertainty interval (UI) 8.1% to 8.6%). DALYs increased from 20.6 million (95% UI 17.0 to 23.3 million) in 1990 to 30.9 million (95% UI 25.8 to 34.6 million) in 2010. The burden of other MSK increased with age. Globally, other MSK disability burden (YLD) ranked sixth.

Conclusions: Ageing of the global population will further increase the burden of other MSK. Specific MSK conditions within this large category should be considered separately to enable more explicit estimates of their burden in future iterations of GBD.

Keywords: Arthritis; Autoimmune Diseases; Epidemiology; Health Services Research; Outcomes Research.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cost of Illness
  • Disabled Persons / statistics & numerical data*
  • Global Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • International Classification of Diseases
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / mortality*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors