PainNoFilter : Charity Marks World Arthritis Day

  • 18 million people in the UK have arthritis or a related condition
  • Half (57%) experience pain every day; eight in ten (78%) say they experience pain ‘most days’
  • Two in five (43%) have hidden their pain from loved ones
  • #PainNoFilter launched to challenge society’s attitudes and help more people in pain get the support and care they need

The UK’s leading arthritis charity, Versus Arthritis, has launched 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:

  • Society’s dismissal: Two thirds (66%) of people with arthritis don’t tell people about their condition because they worry they could be seen as ‘whinging’.
  • Lack of understanding: Half (50%) of people with arthritis feel those without the condition do not understand what it’s like to live with
  • Social media pressure: Because of its ‘filtered’ nature, almost a third (30%) of people with arthritis actively avoid going on social media

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 as 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 open and honestly. A lot of 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.”

How you can get involved:

  • If you are living with persistent pain: Share an image on Instagram that captures your #PainNoFilter reality – remember to tag @VersusArthritis and use the campaign hashtag #PainNoFilter
  • Everyone else: Show your support for people living with the pain of arthritis by liking, sharing and posting supportive comments on #PainNoFilter images on Instagram

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The Hippocratic Editorial and VT team. Please send your suggestions to [email protected]
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