Ahead of World Arthritis Day on Saturday 12 October, the UK’s leading arthritis charity, Versus Arthritis, launches a bold social media campaign to expose the true reality for the millions of people in the UK living with conditions that cause persistent pain. It has been designed to challenge attitudes and break down the societal stigma that is currently preventing people in persistent pain getting the support and care they need and deserve.
Currently 18 million people are living with arthritis or related conditions in the UK, making it one of the biggest causes of persistent pain. As many as half of those experience pain every day, and eight in ten (78%) say they experience pain ‘most days.’
Despite its scale and impact, arthritis remains hidden. Research commissioned by the charity reveals as many as two in five people with arthritis (43%) actively keep their condition from their loved ones. It identifies reasons why those living in pain often feel unable to speak openly about the impact it has on them:
Liam O’Toole, CEO of Versus Arthritis, said: “Millions of people with arthritis are living with pain every single day; the simplest of movements like standing, holding, walking or hugging are exhausting and excruciating. Yet we know as many as half of people with the condition hide their pain. That’s not okay.
“With #PainNoFilter we want to show people with arthritis they are not alone and they do not have to suffer in silence. And we want the public to recognise what it’s like to live with persistent pain, so that more people get the help and support they desperately need and deserve”.
Chloe Elliot is a model, writer and Instagram influencer who lives with psoriatic arthritis. Commenting on the campaign she said: “I think it’s important to be open and honest about having an auto-immune condition like arthritis, and that’s why I think campaigns like #PainNoFilter are a great way for people to share their raw feelings about their condition. A lot of the time you can feel like a burden on your family and friends – when you really shouldn’t! I feel like it’s quite a misunderstood condition that a lot of people think is reserved for the elderly.
“I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis when I was 23 and found adjusting to my new body very difficult. I felt I had nobody to relate to, nobody who fully understood what I was going through and I initially really struggled mentally. The #PainNoFilter campaign will help to connect those in similar situations, educate others on autoimmune conditions such as arthritis and help engage the new generation in understanding invisible illness. Instagram for me is somewhere I can be fully honest about my condition – I’ve even shown how I inject my medication in the hope that it helps at least one person out there feel less lonely – for me, this is the start of a really positive change for us all to really open up and start talking.”
About the research
Nordstat UK polled a nationally representative sample of 1107 people with arthritis aged 16+ years in the United Kingdom, using an online methodology. The research was conducted between 4th October 2018 and 9th October 2018.
The findings were published in Versus Arthritis’ Defying Arthritis at Every Age report: https://www.versusarthritis.org/media/2461/defying_arthritis_at_every_age-report-nov-18.pdf
About Versus Arthritis
There are 18 million people living with arthritis in the UK. That’s one in four people, with half of those living in pain every single day. The impact is huge as the condition slowly intrudes on everyday life – affecting the ability to work, care for a family, to move free from pain and to live independently. Yet arthritis is often dismissed as an inevitable part of aging or shrugged off as ‘just a bit of arthritis’. We don’t think that this is ok. Building on the legacies and expertise of both Arthritis Research UK and Arthritis Care, Versus Arthritis is here to change that.
Alongside volunteers, healthcare professionals, decision makers and researchers we do everything we can to push back against arthritis.
Together, we’ll continue to develop breakthrough treatments, campaign relentlessly for arthritis to be seen as a priority and support people with arthritis whenever they need it. We’re making real progress. But there’s still a long way to go, and we won’t stop until no-one has to tolerate the pain, fatigue and isolation of arthritis. We are Versus Arthritis.
Find out more at: www.versusarthritis.org