To quantify the change in quality of life, disease-specific indicators, health, and lifestyle before and during the COVID19 pandemic amongst people with musculoskeletal diagnoses and symptoms.
We undertook an additional follow-up of two existing UK registers involving people with axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA) or psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and participants in a trial in the UK who had regional pain and were identified at high risk of developing chronic widespread pain. Participants completed the study questionnaire between July and December 2020, throughout which time there were public health restrictions in place.
1054 people took part in the study (596 axSpA, 162 PsA, 296 regional pain). In comparison to their previous (pre-pandemic) assessment, there was an age-adjusted significant, small, decrease in quality of life measured by EQ-5D (-0.020 95% CI (-0.030, -0.009)) overall and across all population groups examined. This was primarily related to poorer mental health and pain. There was a small increase in fibromyalgia symptoms, but a small decrease in sleep problems. There was a small deterioration in axSpA disease activity, and disease-specific quality of life and anxiety in PsA participants. Predictors of poor quality of life were similar pre- and during the pandemic. The effect of lockdown on activity differed according to age, gender, and deprivation.
Important lessons include focussing on addressing anxiety and providing enhanced support for self-management in the absence of normal health care being available, and awareness that all population groups are likely to be affected.

© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Rheumatology.