National Health Priority Areas

Investigation Report

Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Conditions

Arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions are conditions of the bones, muscles and their attachments (e.g joints and ligaments), arthritis is inflammation of the joints. They are the most common chronic conditions in Australia with around 6 million Australians being affected by arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions. $5.7 billion was spent on trying to help and relieve arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions, $1,637 million of that was spent on osteoarthritis, $1,177 million on back problems, $355 million on rheumatoid arthritis and $305 million on osteoporosis.


- 28% of Australians have arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions

- 14% (of the 28) have back problems, 8% have osteoarthritis, 3% have osteoporosis, 2% have rheumatoid and 1% have other musculoskeletal conditions

- 1-7 Australians have reported having arthritis in 2011-12

Causes of arthritis and musculoskeletal diseases

- Family history

- How old you are can affect how weak your bones are (more prone to diseases and conditions of the bones)

- Sex

- Previous joint injury can set off a new or different diesease

- Obestity and weight will affect the amount of pressure on your joints

- Smoking

- Alcohol

Treatment and Prevention

- Losing weight can help take pressure off joints

- Avoid alcohol and food high in purines such as, organ meats, dried beans and sardines

- Exercise is good for joints especially stretching

- Acupuncture

- Massage

- Herbal supplements

- Medecation, anti-inflammatories

Local support agencies

Arthritis Australia : www.arthritisaustralia.com.au

Moves muscle, bone and joint health : www.move.org.au

These support agencies are designed to help and inform people about bone and joint health. They are where people with musculoskeletal conditions come together to improve their health and wellbeing through discussion.

Health Promotion for arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions

You can find health publications at Australian Institue of Health and Welfare, Helath.vic, Psa.org and Helath Networks are designed to help people recognise the impacts of arthritis on the health of Australians.