Musculoskeletal Australia launches first national consumer-driven survey

Musculoskeletal Australia (MSK) will conduct the largest consumer-driven survey of people living with musculoskeletal conditions, or those caring for them.


Following a pilot survey by MSK in July, responses showed that people living with musculoskeletal conditions were impacted in a variety of ways and needed help and support to better manage their conditions and have a better quality of life.


These preliminary results show that all respondents said affordable treatment options and services (e.g. physiotherapy, exercise classes, medication) would better help them manage their conditions.


While half of the pilot survey respondents were of working age (aged 25-64), only 39% of respondents were actually working (43% were retired, 9% unable to work and 5% studying).


A large number of pilot survey respondents were unable to work because of their condition and have had to either retire early, stop working, change to part-time work or seen their career plans affected by their condition.


With so many unable to work and earn as they would like, it is no surprise that those living with musculoskeletal conditions also feel a substantial amount of financial strain, with participants stating that they felt financial stress as a result of the cost of allied health appointments, private health insurance, specialist appointments and medications.


Over 70 per cent of pilot survey participants said that their day-to-day physical activity, like walking or climbing stairs, is affected.


Other life impacts include a decrease in social activities, with 66 per cent of pilot survey participants stating their social life has been affected.


“The prevalence of musculoskeletal conditions in Australia is becoming exceedingly high and can have a profound impact on people’s lives, including their mental wellbeing and socio-economic circumstances. MSK is committed to representing the needs and perspectives of people living with these conditions and wants to achieve the best outcomes for them. Our national consumer survey is the first step to providing us with a broader understanding of their experiences, needs and how to best support them,” says Rob Anderson, CEO Musculoskeletal Australia.


The second largest contributor to disability worldwide and the most common cause for early retirement, there are over 150 musculoskeletal conditions which include common conditions such as osteoarthritis, back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, osteoporosis and fibromyalgia.


MSK is also working with various partner organisations to increase the reach of the survey throughout Australia. Among others, these include the Australian Pain Management Association, Chronic Illness Alliance, Dragon Claw, Painaustralia and Pain Revolution.


The survey will close on Wednesday, 14th October, with findings released in late November.


The survey can be completed at


For more information see


6 September 2020.