New Musculoskeletal (MSK) Community Day tackles muscle and joint pain and boosts wellbeing

26 Feb 2024
NHS South East London

The first of our relaxed and informal MSK Community Days for people living with musculoskeletal conditions — that featured a Conversation Café, among other innovations — attracted over 130 Lewisham residents (22 February).

The event, which took place in the St Lawrence Community Centre in Catford, was a chance for people on a routine MSK physiotherapy waiting list to have their muscle and joint pain assessed, learn about different treatments, diets, and exercises, and discover services in the area — including Lewisham Connections, Sydenham Gardens and UP! UP! Living Lighter — that could help improve other aspects of their lives.

Organised by SEL ICS and hosted by the MSK community provider leads, the structure and content of the day itself was heavily influenced by the members of the MSK Lived Experience group, who all said that they would like to be able to talk about what matters to them and discuss their muscle and joint health in a relaxed environment, and, if possible, receive general advice and support while they were there too.

Thanks to their input, a series of pilot MSK Community Days are now due to take place around southeast London over the next month, all of which will offer discussions about MSK conditions and clinical assessments in a Conversation Café — followed by the chance to join in with a physical activity and talk to guidance services, like Citizens Advice and community groups in the local area.

Speaking on the day, Emma James, SEL MSK Project Manager was pleased with how the first event had gone:

“We were inspired by the Sussex MSK Partnership, who started running MSK days last year, which have been really popular, and I must say today’s been brilliant!

“I’ve had so many positive comments from the guests.  Most have said how great it is to have lots of different services all under one roof, with expert MSK advice as well, and that they’re really pleased they came.”

Further MSK Community Days are scheduled to take place in southeast London throughout March and are open to people on routine MSK physiotherapy waiting lists who have received a personal invitation from their local MSK services.

Here is some of the feedback we received from attendees:

Ifeanyi: “Having different practitioners in one place and getting what you need for your MSK condition it was very helpful. An event like this is like ‘all you can eat’.”

Zainab: “I find it very useful, coming and having a go with different exercises.”

Mary, 75 years old: “It was an informative session and conversations were very helpful after waiting months for referral.”

Joanna, 50 years old: “Events like this should be organised more often, maybe monthly. My MSK conversation was very helpful. Before I was scared to do exercises but now, I learned to do easy exercises that are useful for me. I need to go back to work next week and this will help me.”

Maria: “I did not know what to expect. Today I learned lots of different exercises and this is very good. Now I know who to call when I need help as many services are self-referral and I don’t need to go back to the GP.”

Djene: “I was expecting physiotherapy today, but I learned to manage my pain and I am happy to do things that would help me in the future.”