Why improving muscle, bone and joint health can’t wait

New report urges different approach to treating joint pain and discomfort.

knee joints

A different approach to treatment would help the 6.8 million Australians struggling from muscle, bone and joint conditions, a new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has found.

Musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis, chronic back pain and osteoporosis cost Australian taxpayers $55 billion every year.

A new report for MOVE (formerly Arthritis Victoria), found that changing approaches to treatment and care could save hundreds of millions of dollars on healthcare and improve patient outcomes.

Australian Physiotherapy Association chief executive officer Cris Massis says there are many things people can do to help themselves.

“Helping people to move, manage pain and maintain a healthy weight will relieve pressure on hospitals and make a real difference to their lives,” he says.

More than 700,000 people have been diagnosed with musculoskeletal conditions since the last report in 2013 – and that number is growing.

Whether walking to the mail box, doing a bit of gardening or running a marathon, the report says keeping physically active and socially connected is critical at all stages of life.

While many people think these are conditions of old age, 60 per cent of people struggling with these conditions are aged between 25–64 years: only 32 per cent of people are older than 65 years, and eight per cent are younger than 24 years.

MOVE research and knowledge manager Ornella Clavisi says it doesn’t matter how old a person is, there are ways to help improve people’s quality of life.

“When people are provided with information and support, they cope better and can still live full lives,” she says.

PwC senior partner James van Smeerdijk says we need a new approach to the way we deal with these conditions.

“At the moment we are spending billions of dollars, and patients are still not getting the best outcomes,” he says.

“If we fund only what works, increase awareness and update our approach to care delivery, it will go a long way towards getting Australians moving.”

Orthopaedic Surgeon and Professor Peter Choong says we need an agile health system funded on evidence-based practice, with movement as a central element of care.

“It’s about having the right treatments, in the right place, at the right time – so patients achieve the best possible quality of life,” he says.

Coinciding with the release of the report, a national public awareness campaign #PainfulTruths is showing why better outcomes are desperately needed for people living with musculoskeletal conditions.

If you are struggling with musculoskeletal pain and fatigue, visit move.org.au



    To make a comment, please register or login
    5th Sep 2017
    Tis true, sometimes I start my walk in the morning with stiff legs and pain in the ankles when I put my foot down, but after i have had coffee, walked across the bridge to the other side of the river and around the block, I am walking normally.

    I just have to be careful not to sit down till I have finished my washing, cleaning and shopping or I have to loosen up all over again. That's what's bad about the computer. A couple of years ago 25GB was more than enough, but now they are giving me 100GB for the same price, that's what I am using and doing less physical stuff.
    5th Sep 2017
    I cycle and do some weight lifting, not much weight but enough to retain muscle strength around joints. Many people only think of exercise in terms of weight control, but that's only a minor benefit, if you want to remain healthy in old age exercise becomes very important and never stops.
    5th Sep 2017
    So true Tib!
    Exercise and resistance training are so important in retaining quality of life as we age. Maintaining strength, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness and core strength, as well as protecting the integrity of ligaments and tendons, will enable life to be lived! Well done on keeping up your activity!
    5th Sep 2017
    My Father used to walk his 4 mile route everyday come rain, shine, hail or snow. When asked why he bothered at his age, his rely was always: "So that I can."

    There really is truth in the adage "Use it, or lose it".
    The pom
    5th Sep 2017
    Having run a number of marathons in my 50s as well as racing bikes I feel as though I set myself up for later years, and now well into my 80s I still do daily exercises and a bit of light weight work. I can still ride my bike and lots of housework. A brother who thought exercise consisted of jumping to conclusions died at 73 after long spells in hospital. I think being a non-drinker and non-smoker also help.

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