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National Arthritis Week 2014 round-up

Published on 05 December 2014
Source: Arthritis Today

Liam O'Toole holding an 'I've become a Pain Killer' signWe want to thank everyone who became Pain Killers during October 2014, and once again made National Arthritis Week a success.

For the third year running, our awareness week was an opportunity to highlight the impact of arthritis and to give people with arthritis, their friends and family, information to effectively manage their condition.

National Arthritis Survey

This year, we highlighted the impact of pain on the lives of people with arthritis. We understand what it’s like to live with long-term pain, so we invited everyone to be Be a Pain Killer and support the 10 million people living in pain every day. We created a new look and feel for the campaign and encouraged everyone to get involved by filling in the National Arthritis Survey, sharing our pain management information or organising an event.

Over 14,000 of you completed the National Arthritis Survey last year and told us about the effect arthritis has on your everyday life, from household chores to how you get around. Out of those with moderate or severe pain:

  • 56% struggled to sleep
  • 50% found weekly shopping extremely difficult
  • sadly 24% reported that their pain prevented them from playing with their grandkids.

At Arthritis Research UK, we know that the pain caused by arthritis is often invisible so we launched National Arthritis Week with a news story looking at the nation’s perception of pain. The results showed us that:

  • The nation ranked childbirth as the most painful event (51%) they have experienced or could imagine, with less than half (24%) giving a kick in the groin the same rating.
  • A blood test (1%) was ranked the least painful, along with paper cuts (2%) and hitting a funny bone (2%)
  • Interestingly 92% of those surveyed with arthritis rated their condition as painful as childbirth, and when asked to best describe their pain, almost half of people arthritis (46%) said it felt ‘like hot knives every time I move’ and for over a third (38%) the pain of arthritis caused ‘constant fatigue and loss of energy’.
  • Over half of the general population (51%) said they would find it challenging to do everyday tasks like shopping, cooking or socialising with friends if they experienced joint, neck or back pain and stiff knees – all symptoms people with arthritis deal with on a daily basis.

Media coverage

Professor Alan Silman and ambassador Laura WrightThe national and regional media supported us during the week, and we had great coverage across the country. Our medical director Professor Alan Silman was joined by our ambassador and classic singer Laura Wright for over 20 radio interviews to kick off the week. Associate medical director Dr Inam Haq was on Zee Companion, a live show on Zee TV which is broadcast to almost one million homes across Europe.

We also highlighted your stories in the media and talked about the impact that arthritis has on daily life. Sally Mills from Northamptonshire lent her support to National Arthritis Week after she was diagnosed with osteoarthritis at 42. She said: "My daily pain has meant I had to stop working, which has been very upsetting and I can no longer drive long distances. Where I used to enjoy coastal walking, I now have to think of every little movement before I actually do it.

"I encouraged everytone to get involved with National Arthritis Week and join the battle against this awful condition. Everyone’s support will help Arthritis Research UK help millions of people, like me, living in pain."

Catherine Manning, 34, from Essex, was also keen to support the week. She said: "The pain of arthritis can make everyday tasks that many people take for granted extremely difficult. My husband helps me shower, get dressed and helps with the cooking. I can no longer do the things I used to love and, at 34, it’s hard to come to terms with it.

"I’m proud to support Arthritis Research UK as they are dedicated to stopping the devastating impact that arthritis has on people’s lives by funding life-changing research. This National Arthritis Week, I became a Pain Killer for myself, while my husband and children all became a Pain Killer for me."

A week of events

During the week…

An Arthritis Research UK shop decorated for National Arthritis Week
  • Our supporters and fundraisers dressed up, held bake sales, took part in zip wire challenges and held bucket collections across the country to raise thousands of pounds.
  • Our retail stores filled their windows with orange stock, organised events and got customers involved in the week. With your help, they raised almost £15,000.
  • We held a parliamentary reception to talk to MPs and peers about the pain of arthritis and its impact.
  • LloydsPharmacy donated up to £1 from the sale of selected pain management products and supported the week with staff fundraising. They also donated space on screens in 2, 000 GP surgeries across the country, which we used to signpost people to our pain information.
  • Announcements were played at train stations across the country during the week thanks to support from East Midlands Trains.
  • For the second year running, we were donated video advertising space in 18 major railway stations across the UK. Watch the National Arthritis Week 2014 video.

Thank you to everyone who supported National Arthritis Week, whether it was attending an event, organising a bake sale, taking part in the National Arthritis Survey or sharing our pain information. However you chose to support us, together we’re one step closer to finding a cure.

Find out more about how you can get involved and support us.

Pain centre announcement

During National Arthritis Week we also announced that our national pain centre at the University of Nottingham had been successful in gaining £2 m to fund its research programme for a further five years. The research team has two main aims: to find new painkillers and ways of using them, and to prevent the pain of arthritis getting worse over time.

Director of the centre Professor David Walsh said: "We’re working hard to reduce the suffering for people with arthritis. We’re already making progress, but we still have much more to do, so we’re delighted that Arthritis Research UK has decided to fund us for another five years."

Read more about the pain centre announcement.

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