Recommendations if a loved one has a musculoskeletal condition

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December 11, 2021
Musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions will affect approximately half of the population at some point in their lifetime. MSK disorders describe a wide range of conditions affecting bones, muscles, joints, and connective tissues in the body. An MSK condition may cause pain and loss of function. These disorders can range from mildly annoying to completely debilitating and may be caused by heredity, aging, trauma or by a variety of medical diseases.

Which MSK conditions are most common?

At BICMD we see, treat and give expert opinions on a multitude of musculoskeletal disorders and conditions. The most common MSK conditions we see include:

  • Arthritis: Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and post-traumatic arthritis.
  • Back and neck pain: Muscle, tendon and ligament strains, disc issues.
  • Injury: Trauma, falls, injuries in the workplace, recurrent use injury.
  • Joint conditions: Injuries or conditions of the shoulder, hip, knee, elbow, ankle, and wrist.  


What if my loved one is suffering from an MSK condition?

Musculoskeletal conditions can affect individuals in many different ways. Most MSK conditions cause pain and a decreased range of motion. While many disorders are treatable, it takes time to heal and the support of a loved one is vital to a good recovery. If you have a loved one with an MSK condition it is important to:

  • Be compassionate and show empathy. Listen to their complaints, issues, fears and let them know you understand.
  • Show support by driving them to appointments if needed, talking to their doctor or physical therapist, and helping them when needed.
  • Learn about their MSK condition. Different conditions have a variety of symptoms, treatments, and outcomes. It is good to research the condition your loved one has and learn of treatment options.
  • Ask for a second opinion. If your loved one is not making progress, or if they are unsure their treatment is working (or the proper treatment to undergo) it is a good idea to seek an expert second opinion.
  • Try not to assume that you know what they are going through. Even if you’ve had the same MSK condition or something similar, everyone’s experience is different. Younger patients will have an easier time recovering than an older patient; those in good general health will also have an easier time with recovery. Pain is also handled differently from person to person. Try to offer support without judgement.


What symptoms would a loved one have with an MSK conditions?

Your loved one may experience a number of symptoms, depending on the MSK condition they have. Common symptoms include:

  • Pain
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Limited ability to do daily tasks.
  • Crunching, popping or clicking sounds in the joint(s).
  • Depression, feeling of helplessness.
  • Weakness
  • Swelling (inflammation)
  • Tenderness


How long will my loved one suffer from an MSK condition?

It is important to remember, and to let your loved one know, that many musculoskeletal conditions can be treated. Different conditions may take longer to heal than others, but with expert help, there is usually a medical solution. Some conditions can be treated with biologic medicine, injections, or physical therapy.  Other conditions may need a new ligament, cartilage restoration, a new joint, or a more invasive solution to resolve the issue. Patience is key to helping a loved one overcome an MSK condition. Helping a loved one get a second opinion may also be beneficial, especially if their condition is worsening or if they are not finding an answer for their specific MSK condition.