Overview of the Bone and Joint Decade Task Force FindingsThe World Health Organization (WHO) keeps a close eye on health concerns around the globe. Epidemiologists (people who study statistics and trends) from the WHO have alerted us to the increasing number of musculoskeletal disorders in adults.
Rising rates of joint diseases, back pain, and bone fractures was just one of the concerns. Disability due to high-intensity neck pain was another. In January 2000, they set up a special program called the Bone and Joint Decade. This program was designed to focus worldwide attention on musculoskeletal problems.
The decade is almost over, so it's time to take a look at what's happening. To this end, the WHO put together a special Bone and Joint Decade Task Force on Neck Pain. More than 50 experts from nine countries were involved in reviewing the evidence gathered so far. Eight universities and 14 different clinical and scientific groups were on the committee.
The Task Force reviewed all the studies published on neck pain and disorders linked with neck pain. This entire supplemental issue of the Spine journal is devoted to summarizing their findings. There are chapters on risk factors for neck pain, diagnosis and treatment, and prognosis. Treatment includes conservative (nonoperative) and invasive (surgical) care.
With the vast number of people affected by this problem, prevention has become a new focus. In particular, there is a search on for cost-effective prevention and treatment. The importance of patient education and participation must not be forgotten. More research is needed to understand musculoskeletal disorders to help in these efforts.
Lars Lidgren, MD, PhD. Preface: Neck Pain and the Decade of the Bone and Joint 2000-2010. In Spine. Supplement to February 15, 2008. Vol. 33. No. 4S. Pp. S1-S2.
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