According to the WHO, musculoskeletal conditions can be broadly categorized as joint diseases, physical disability, spinal disorders, and conditions resulting from trauma. They include over 150 diseases and syndromes including forms of arthritis, osteoporosis and chronic back pain. These conditions affect movement of the musculoskeletal system (i.e. muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, discs, blood vessels, etc.) are progressive in nature and are associated with pain.

There is limited data available on the prevalence of musculoskeletal conditions in Qatar’s population. On a global scale osteoarthritis affects 9.6% of men and 18% of women aged >60 years, rheumatoid arthritis affects 0.3–1.0% of the general population and is more prevalent among women in developed countries, while hip fracture due to osteoporosis is associated with 20% mortality and 50% permanent loss in function. Additionally, low back pain affects nearly everyone at some point in time and according to chronic rheumatic conditions data from the WHO, about 4–33% of the population at any given point.

(WHO Chronic rheumatic conditions 2016)

Health implications

Musculoskeletal conditions are a major burden on individuals, health systems and social care systems. They are also one of the leading causes of morbidity and disability in developed and developing countries, giving rise to increased healthcare expenditures and days of work lost. The Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 found that in Qatar, low back pain was one of the top three causes of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs).

Musculoskeletal Objectives

Musculoskeletal conditions continue to rise due to changes in lifestyles and an increase in risk factors, with obesity being the largest followed by occupational risks. The strategy’s Musculoskeletal Objectives aim to reduce the prevalence of these conditions and enable those people living with musculoskeletal conditions to be more active and free from pain.

Figure 15: Leading causes of DALYs and percentage change 1990 to 2010 for Qatar.
(Source: Health Metrics and Evaluation, GBD Profile, 2013)

(Source: WHO Chronic rheumatic conditions 2016)

Musculoskeletal Objectives

  1. MS1Reduce the proportion of adults with arthritis or joint symptoms who experience activity limitation
  2. MS2Reduce the proportion of adults with arthritis or joint symptoms who report serious psychological distress
  3. MS3Reduce the proportion of adults with chronic low back pain who experience activity limitation
  4. MS4Reduce the proportion of adults over age 50 who have osteoporosis
  5. MS5Increase the proportion of adults with arthritis who receive health counseling for physical activity or exercise
  6. MS6Increase the proportion of adults overweight and obese diagnosed arthritis who receive counseling for weight reduction