New possibility for comprehensive evaluation of musculoskeletal health status: the Musculoskeletal Health Questionnaire (MSK-HQ)

Considering domestic and international prevalence data, musculoskeletal diseases are among the most common chronic diseases, which often come with significant pain and functional impairment, causing limitations and a drastic decrease in the quality of life of patients. Due to the significant burden of illness associated with musculoskeletal diseases, examining musculoskeletal health and related quality of life is of paramount importance, as it allows for a comprehensive assessment of individual healthcare services and the therapeutic field beyond assessing the patients’ condition.

Recently, to meet these needs, the University of Oxford has developed the Musculoskeletal Health Questionnaire (MSK-HQ), which reliably and sensitively measures respondents’ musculoskeletal symptoms and quality of life, and can be generally applied to a wide range of musculoskeletal diseases. Since its release, the questionnaire has been translated into several languages and its validity has been confirmed for various patient groups struggling with musculoskeletal problems. Given the significant international results achieved, it was important for MSK-HQ to become available in Hungary as well.

The development of the Hungarian version and its applicability was carried out by the HECON team led by experts. During the research, the members of the research group created the Hungarian version of MSK-HQ and then investigated its measurement properties in a cross-sectional population survey. Additionally, they assessed the general musculoskeletal status of the Hungarian population, the frequency of various musculoskeletal problems, and the health status of groups struggling with different problems relative to each other. They also sought to determine what basic properties affect individuals’ musculoskeletal health and quality of life.

Overall, the results support that the Hungarian version of MSK-HQ is a valid, reliable, and appropriately applicable questionnaire, with measurement properties similar to previously reported results in the literature. The number of people with musculoskeletal problems is significant in the Hungarian population. In the sample, significantly better MSK-HQ values were found for men, those living in the capital, those with higher incomes, and those with higher levels of education.

As a result of the work of the participants in the research, we have published population reference values for the MSK-HQ measure, which is now available and applicable in both clinical trials and routine clinical practice for recording and monitoring the condition of musculoskeletal patients, as well as for surveying the musculoskeletal health of the Hungarian population at the population level. The results obtained in this way provide, among other things, the possibility of comparing Hungarian patients internationally. Furthermore, the use of the tool may also serve quality assurance purposes in the future, as it is excellently applicable to assessing the effectiveness of healthcare services targeting musculoskeletal patients, as well as comparing the effectiveness of individual services even between institutions. Thus, the results of the Hungarian survey contribute significantly to both clinical and health policy decision-making.

The original English-language press release is available at the following link: