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Incidence trend of five common musculoskeletal disorders from 1990 to 2017 at the global, regional and national level: results from the global burden of disease study 2017


Objective To assess cause-specific incidence and its trend of musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders at global, regional and national levels.

Methods Data on MSK disorders were downloaded from the Global Burden of Disease 2017 study website. Estimated annual percentage change (EAPC) was calculated to quantify the temporal trend in age-standardised incidence rate (ASR) of MSK disorders, by age, sex, region and cause.

Results Between 1990 and 2017 incident cases of MSK disorders increased globally by 58% from 211.80 million to 334.74 million, with a decreasing ASR of 0.18% annually (95% CI −0.21% to −0.15%). The ASR decreased for low back pain (LBP), remained stable for neck pain (NP), and increased for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis (OA) and gout, with EAPCs (95% CI) of −0.24 (−0.29 to –0.20), −0.09 (−0.13 to −0.05), 0.36 (0.28 to 0.43), 0.32 (0.28 to 0.36) and 0.22 (0.21 to 0.23), respectively. It appears women have higher increase in EAPC than men for RA (1.3 times) and gout (1.6 times). The absolute EAPC was strikingly high in high or high-middle sociodemographic index (SDI) regions for overall, LBP and gout, and in low SDI regions for NP. EAPC was significantly associated with baseline ASR for LBP (nonlinear), RA (ρ=−0.41) and gout (ρ=−0.42), also with 2017 human development index for LBP (ρ=−0.53) and gout (ρ=0.15).

Conclusions Globally, MSK disorders remain a public health burden. The ASR is decreasing for MSK disorders overall, mainly in high-middle SDI regions, but increasing for RA, OA and gout.

  • epidemiology
  • gout
  • low back pain
  • osteoarthritis
  • rheumatoid arthritis

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