Versus Arthritis Musculoskeletal Health Questionnaire (MSK-HQ)

What is the MSK-HQ?

The MSK-HQ is a short questionnaire that allows people with musculoskeletal conditions (such as arthritis or back pain) to report their symptoms and quality of life in a standardised way.

It was developed jointly by the Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Sciences Research Centre at Keele University and the University of Oxford, co-produced with active participation and feedback from people with arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions, clinicians and academics.

The purpose of the work was to develop holistic indicators that reflect how well services improve quality of life for people with musculoskeletal conditions, such as arthritis or back pain. The MSK-HQ instrument is designed to be used across different musculoskeletal care pathways in different healthcare settings.

You can read more about the development and validation of the MSK-HQ in BMJ Open.

Why is the MSK-HQ important?

By capturing an overall rating of a person’s musculoskeletal health at any given time, the MSK-HQ enables patients and their clinicians to monitor progress over time and response to treatment. Considering individual components of the score, such as sleep quality or mood can allow particular aspects of musculoskeletal health to be addressed, ensuring a holistic approach to patient needs.

Simply using the MSK-HQ may support people to report a wider range of their symptoms to their clinical team than they otherwise would feel able.

The MSK-HQ, therefore, has the potential to become in musculoskeletal health what the “blood pressure” is in cardiovascular health, or the blood sugar marker “HbA1c” in diabetes: an essential measure of musculoskeletal health that can be used throughout health systems for the benefit of people with musculoskeletal conditions.

Interested in using the MSK-HQ?

The MSK-HQ is available for use free of charge to publicly funded healthcare providers, non-commercially funded academic researchers and other non-commercial users.

The MSK-HQ is owned and managed (on behalf of the developers/funders) by Oxford University Innovations. Anyone wanting to use the MSK-HQ must seek permissions (a copyright licence) from Oxford University Innovations before using it.

If you'd like to know more about obtaining a licence or have any questions on the application process, please visit

More information

Download the following PDFs for more information:

Read more about the development of the MSK-HQ in the British Orthopaedic Association’s Journal of Trauma and Orthopaedics (PDF 1.31 MB).

Frequently asked questions

If you have any questions, please check our Frequently asked questions (PDF 158 KB). If you can’t find your answer here please get in touch with us: