Musculoskeletal conditions suck up health dollars

Arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions are Australia's fourth most expensive group of diseases, according to a report by the Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

In the most recent reporting period, 2008/9, spending totalled $5.69 billion, accounting for 9% of total health-care spending.

Only cardiovascular disease, oral health and mental disorders are more expensive, according to the Institute.

From 2000/1 to 2008/9, total health spending on the conditions rose by 67%, compared with 52% for spending on all chronic