Musculoskeletal diseases (MDs) have major consequences for the individual, and also for society and may thus lead to increased use of health care. It was the aim of this study to explore health care utilisation in patients with self-reported osteoarthritis, chronic back pain or osteoporosis compared with people of the same age without those diseases, based on data of the Austrian health interview survey including 3,097 subjects aged ≥ 65 years. Patients with MDs in our study visited a general practitioner (GP) and were hospitalised significantly more often compared with persons without the respective diseases. Problems in the activities of daily living (ADLs), pain intensity and anxiety/depression influenced GP consultations. Complex factors explain the higher health care utilisation in subjects with MDs in our study. Our results indicate that integrated strategies are needed to manage those patients, which should focus on management of ADL problems, pain and mental health.