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Norwich study into lockdown impact on bone, joint and muscle pain

PUBLISHED: 09:03 29 April 2020 | UPDATED: 09:03 29 April 2020

A study at the UEA will look at the impact of coronavirus lockdown on those with  bone, joint and muscle pain. Picture: PA Photo/JupiterImages

A study at the UEA will look at the impact of coronavirus lockdown on those with bone, joint and muscle pain. Picture: PA Photo/JupiterImages

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Researchers in Norwich are launching a new study to see how coronavirus and lockdown are affecting people with bone, joint and muscle pain.

A team at University of East Anglia is looking for people with bone, joint and muscle pain to take part in a 12-week online survey to see how they are coping at this difficult time of Covid-19 self-isolation.

The study is being led by Dr Toby Smith, from UEA’s School of Health Sciences, and Prof Alex MacGregor, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School.

Dr Smith said: “Bone, joint and muscle pain is a major cause of disability for people across the UK. People with these problems often experience pain, joint stiffness, fatigue and muscle weaknesses.

Dr Toby Smith from University of East Anglia School of Health Sciences. Picture: UEADr Toby Smith from University of East Anglia School of Health Sciences. Picture: UEA

“Bone, joint and muscle diseases are frequently managed with a combination of physical activity and medications.

“The coronavirus pandemic is a major challenge to people’s health and wellbeing, both to young and older people.

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“With the current period of self-isolation because of coronavirus, we are worried that this may become a much greater problem – particularly for those with bone, joint and muscle pain.”

The enforced lockdown has seen a rise in musculoskeletal complaints with more people working at home. Picture: PA/jupiterimagesThe enforced lockdown has seen a rise in musculoskeletal complaints with more people working at home. Picture: PA/jupiterimages

The enforced lockdown has seen a rise in musculoskeletal complaints and declining mental health among the UK’s homeworkers, a recent survey found.

The findings from the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) unearthed a snapshot of declining mental and physical health among employees now working from home, with over half reporting new aches and pains, especially in the neck, shoulder and back.

The UEA team’s previous research has revealed the challenges and poor health outcomes caused by social isolation and loneliness for people with conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, lower back pain, osteoporosis and fibromyalgia.

The University of East Anglia has been told to pay £55,000 compensation to a lecturer who was unfairly dismissed. Picture: Denise BradleyThe University of East Anglia has been told to pay £55,000 compensation to a lecturer who was unfairly dismissed. Picture: Denise Bradley

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Dr Smith added: “We want to know how this might be affecting pain, who is most at risk of experiencing flare-ups of their pain and symptoms, as well as understanding who is most at risk of experiencing reduced wellbeing due to social isolation and loneliness.

“We will also be exploring what strategies or skills are needed to be able to support people to cope better with their pain and symptoms during this time.

“This work is important as it will tell us who is most at risk of poor health and wellbeing during this time, so health services can better support these people during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

• Visit for more information or to take part in the survey


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