Musculoskeletal Health Combats Noncommunicable Diseases

A new WHO action plan has highlighted the importance of promoting musculoskeletal health in preventing noncommunicable diseases across Europe.

Musculoskeletal conditions are one of the greatest causes of disability in Europe. The decline of infectious disease is one of the major triumphs of modern medicine but the flip side of this is that people live longer and disease’s progress slowly and increase disability throughout life. These types of disease are called non-communicable disease or NCD’s.

There are four main types of NCD’s – cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes. They are now the leading cause of death, representing 63% of causes of death.

The action plan, approved on 15th September, recommends promoting musculoskeletal health throughout life. This will be achieved through school initiatives, occupational health programmes as well as programmes for the elderly in residential care settings. Overall the focus is on early intervention and self management.

WCPT CEO Jonathon Kruger says:

“[The] WCPT welcomes the recommendations. For the first time the WHO has recognised that countries must take action to decrease the burden arising from musculoskeletal disease. Good musculoskeletal health is critical to good physical health. Good physical health is a prerequisite to people living life to their full potential.”

He also expressed his belief that physical therapists are crucial and uniquely positioned to promote healthy lifelong living.

In many countries direct access to physical therapy allows patients to access MSK services in a timely way, creating the chance for early intervention and minimizing the risk of functional impairment. Across the world, at least 40 WCPT member organisations report that direct access and self-referral is permitted in their countries.

Do you have direct access physiotherapy available in your country? Let everyone know via social media, people can help! Lets make living longer more healthy for all.