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Impact on Quality of Life

The presence of any long-term condition is associated with a drop-in quality of life.

Pain is one of the main symptoms of MSK conditions. Pain makes everyday activities more difficult to cope with and limits a person’s ability to do the essential tasks of daily life such as bathing, dressing and getting out of bed or a chair can become a struggle . Living with a painful MSK condition often causes fatigue and depression. A person’s mood, energy levels, ability to sleep and daily routine can all be affected. This can lead a person to make changes to their schedule in order to cope. Giving up hobbies and social time, and in severe cases their work, which can result in a loss of confidence and self-esteem. This, in turn, reduces their quality of life.

The presence of any long-term condition is associated with a drop-in quality of life (self-reported Quality of Life score of 0.79), but if arthritis or back pain is present as one of the long-term conditions then the drop is greater (self-reported Quality of Life score of 0.58). Approximately 4 out of 10 people (36%) with multi-morbidity are living with a physical and a mental health condition. By 2025 there will be an estimated 9.1 million people living with one or more long-term conditions in the UK. Four out of five people with osteoarthritis have at least one other long-term condition such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease or depression.

Unsurprisingly, people with multi-morbidity are frequent users of the health service, accounting for a high proportion of general practice consultations and hospital admissions. This high level of need for health care also has an impact on the patients themselves, since they may have to swallow numerous tablets, follow special exercise regimes, and attend numerous appointments.

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Musculoskeletal Health: A Public Health Approach

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