‘Musculoskeletal conditions’ is a broad term, encompassing around 200 different conditions affecting the muscles, joints and skeleton. Around 10 million adults, and around 12,000 children, have a musculoskeletal condition in England today.
Musculoskeletal conditions are a major area of NHS expenditure, comprising a separate ‘programme budget’ which – in 2009-10 – consumed £4.76 billion (over £13 million a day). This represents a greater spend than on neurological conditions, diabetes, and infectious diseases, and is an equivalent level of expenditure to that on respiratory conditions. Expenditure on musculoskeletal conditions has risen rapidly in recent years and it is now the fourth highest area of NHS programme budget spend.