Musculoskeletal pain is a public health problem because it affects a large
proportion of the population. There is also consistent evidence that people with persistent musculoskeletal pain are those most likely to have lifestyle related health risk factors, and suffer from other chronic diseases. For example, meta-analyses have found strong associations between pain and; diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity, smoking, inactivity, alcohol misuse and mental health problems. This suggests that making substantial improvement to general and musculoskeletal health requires alignment of clinical care, population health and public health sectors. At this point however, musculoskeletal practitioners and researchers do not work effectively in the population health or public health space.
Research and development of models of care (clinical and population health) that integrate consideration of pain and lifestyle-related health risks is relatively new. Interest in the idea is high, new initiatives are being actively encouraged by governments and providers, and more efficient use of resources is an imperative faced by healthcare systems across the world. But arguably, intentions have progressed further than action.