OBJECTIVES: To present the prevalence of self reported musculoskeletal diseases, the coexistence of these diseases, the test-retest reliability with six months in between, and the association with musculoskeletal pain symptoms. METHODS: Twelve layman descriptions of common musculoskeletal diseases were part of the questionnaires of a prospective cohort study of a random sample in the general Dutch population aged 25 years or more (baseline: n=3664, follow up after six months: n=2338). Data collection also included information about pain relating to five different anatomical areas. RESULTS: Osteoarthritis of the knee (men 10.1%, women 13.6%) was amongst the most reported musculoskeletal diseases, whereas the figures for self reported rheumatoid arthritis (RA) were 1.6% and 4.6% for men and women, respectively. The coexistence of these diseases is high: 47 of the 66 combinations were reported more often than would be expected if they were independent of each other (p<0.05). For most diseases the test-retest reliability was good (kappa between 0.6 and 0.8), but for repetitive strain injury (kappa=0.37) and chronic arthritis other than RA (kappa=0.44) the agreement was fair to moderate. All complaints of pain were more often reported by those with musculoskeletal diseases than those without those diseases, and the pain pattern was disease-specific. CONCLUSIONS: Self reported musculoskeletal diseases are highly prevalent, with a fair to good reliability and a disease-specific pain pattern. Health surveys are a limited but valuable source of information for this group of health problems, which is not available from most other sources of information.

*Health Surveys, Adult, Aged, Arthritis, Rheumatoid/epidemiology, Female, Fibromyalgia/epidemiology, Gout/epidemiology, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Musculoskeletal Diseases/*epidemiology, Neck Injuries/epidemiology, Netherlands/epidemiology, Osteoarthritis, Hip/epidemiology, Osteoarthritis, Knee/epidemiology, Osteoporosis/epidemiology, Prevalence, Prospective Studies, Reproducibility of Results, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't, Sex Distribution, Tendinopathy/epidemiology, Time Factors
hdl.handle.net/1765/8510
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases: an international peer-reviewed journal for health professionals and researchers in the rheumatic diseases
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Picavet, H.S.J, & Hazes, J.M.W. (2003). Prevalence of self reported musculoskeletal diseases is high. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases: an international peer-reviewed journal for health professionals and researchers in the rheumatic diseases. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/8510