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Musculoskeletal Pain

Musculoskeletal pain (pain affecting the joints, bones or muscles) lasting more than 3 months is referred to as chronic musculoskeletal pain.

Chronic musculoskeletal pain is not just a physical problem but can also have significant impact on wellbeing and mental health. This can vary between patients but in some individuals can lead to complete loss of independence. Almost half of those with chronic pain also suffer with depression.

It is a common problem affecting up to 30% of UK adults at any time.

Musculoskeletal Pain Treatment

A holistic approach is often needed to treat chronic musculoskeletal pain. Physiotherapy, modifications to work and home environment and psychological therapies are important aspects of patient care. It is also important to try and continue exercising as tolerated.

Medical therapy is dependent on the underlying cause of pain, as addressing the underlying cause is an important component of treatment.

For muscle and connective tissue pain simple painkillers are often first line treatment with stronger painkillers (e.g. codeine, tramadol and morphine) used in conjunction in severe pain. For those with inflammatory arthritis they may be started on specialist medications that regulate their immune system by a rheumatologist.

Some conditions such as osteoarthritis of the hip or knees may benefit from an operation when severe.

Medicinal cannabis can be considered when first line therapies have not achieved adequate symptom control for their pain.