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Musculoskeletal conditions are the leading cause of disability worldwide and also have a large impact on many other aspects of older people's health such as low physical activity level, poor mobility, frailty, depression, cognitive impairment, falls and poor sleep quality. Clustering of musculoskeletal pain with other pain conditions is also common, and the number of pain sites is an important prognostic factor. While musculoskeletal pain is usually nociceptive in origin, older people with musculoskeletal conditions may also experience neuropathic pain and central pain syndromes. Musculoskeletal burden of disease is increasing because of rapid ageing of populations, especially in developing countries. Interaction of musculoskeletal pain with co-existing conditions, including other types of pain, needs to be studied in longitudinal studies to identify modifiable targets for intervention. Additionally, potential impacts of musculoskeletal pain and prognostic factors need to be investigated in developing countries where evidence is scarce.