Unmet Needs


Lead Author(s): 

Stuart I. Weinstein, MD
Edward H. Yelin, PhD

Supporting Author(s): 

Sylvia I. Watkins-Castillo, PhD

The increased prevalence of musculoskeletal conditions associated with the aging population will necessarily place increased demands on the healthcare system.  However, the growth in the healthcare workforce is not keeping pace with the growing prevalence of musculoskeletal conditions. In fact, two medical specialties focused on the care of persons with these diseases, rheumatology and geriatrics, are having a difficult time recruiting new physicians.

It is also the case, as documented in The Big Picture: Funding that research funding for musculoskeletal conditions, relatively small to begin with, is not keeping up with the growing importance of this disease group. Prior research has led to dramatically improved treatments for inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis (principally because of the development of biological treatments) and to mechanical ones such as osteoarthritis (principally because of the improvement in total joint replacement rates). However, in order to deal with the increased numbers of patients associated with the aging population, research funding must be expanded in sheer dollars and in scope to encompass the cause, treatment, and organization of care.

The Burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases in the United States (BMUS) project was designed to provide primary data on musculoskeletal disorders related to prevalence and incidence, healthcare utilization, and burden, including economic costs, in the US as tools to support policy decision makers in the need for greater attention to be paid to musculoskeletal diseases. As BMUS moves forward, it is being asked to include a much broader picture of musculoskeletal disorders, including, but not limited to, a better description and understanding of disorders, comparison to global burden, treatment options/effectiveness/costs, quality of life, disparities in diagnosis and treatment, and the role of comorbidities. All these areas are critical to addressing the importance of recognizing and treating musculoskeletal diseases. Data to support addressing these issues must be addressed.


  • Fourth Edition

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