Musculoskeletal Conditions Increase Risk of Chronic Disease

According to a recent study, patients with common musculoskeletal conditions have a greater likelihood of developing chronic illnesses. 

The study authors found 13 cohort studies using CIHAHL, Embase, Medline, Medline in Process, PsycINFO, Scopus, and Web of Science. They looked for a correlation between neck or back pain or osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee or hip and subsequent diagnosis of a chronic disease (cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease or obesity). 

The studies included data on a total of 3,086,612 people (mean follow-up, 4-12 years). Among the studies, the musculoskeletal conditions (exposure) was general OA (7), back pain (4) knee OA (3), hip OA (3), and neck pain (1). The reported chronic diseases (outcome) were cardiovascular disease (9), diabetes (3), cancer (1), and obesity (1). 

In an adjusted review, participants with musculoskeletal conditions were 17% more likely to develop a chronic disease (95% CI 1.13–1.22, I2 52%, 10 studies). People with OA had a 16% increased risk of chronic disease, (95% CI 1.14–1.18, I2 0%, eight studies), and specifically of cardiovascular disease, as well as diabetes (95% CI 1.11–1.22, I2 0%, two studies), compared to those without the disease. When back pain was the exposure, the odds of cardiovascular disease (HR 2.13, 95% CI 1.32–3.44, two studies) and cancer (HR 1.25, 95% CI 1.19–1.32, two studies) increased significantly. The neck pain study found neck pain indicated an increased risk of cancer (HR 1.20, 95% CI 1.09–1.31). 

“Typical targets for chronic disease prevention currently include lifestyle risk factors such as poor diet, physical inactivity, alcohol consumption and smoking, but musculoskeletal conditions are currently largely ignored,” the study authors concluded. “Considering their high global burden, addressing musculoskeletal conditions via public health strategies may have an impact on other chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease.” 

Read about the link between knee osteoarthritis and obesity here. 

1 in 5 Adults Suffer from Chronic Pain 

FDA Guidance for Osteoarthritis 

Source: BMC Medicine