A new review indicates that musculoskeletal diseases are prevalent in the elderly population, and the investigators note that as the percentage of older people will triple by the year 2050, the incidence of chronic musculoskeletal conditions will likewise increase.

A systematic literature search was conducted in Pubmed on articles in English, published between January 2000 and July 2011, according to an abstract published on www.pubmed.gov. Studies from developed countries with prevalence estimates on elderly people (60+) on the following musculoskeletal conditions were included: Non-specific extremity pain, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and back pain. The included articles were extracted for information and assessed for risk of bias.

“Given the increasing proportion of elderly population in the world population and the burden of [musculoskeletal diseases] among the elderly people, efforts must be made to maintain their functional capacity for as long as possible through optimal primary and secondary health care,” the investigators note. “Overall, prevalence estimates either remain fairly constant or increase slightly with increasing age, but with a tendency to decrease in the oldest (80+) people.”

The review is published in Chiropractic & Manual Therapies.