IPU

#TodayIsBetter campaign led by Pfizer and supported by IPU launches

Former Irish and Leinster rugby star Luke Fitzgerald shares insight into life with chronic pain at the #TodayIsBetter campaign launch

A new campaign, led by Pfizer and supported by the Irish Pharmacy Union and five of Ireland’s leading patient organisations, aims to gain insight into these untold stories of everyday life with chronic pain, and discover how society at large can help those with chronic pain live better days

Research commissioned by Pfizer (which focuses on the lives and experience of people living with chronic pain and aspects that could make their lives easier) to support the launch of its #TodayIsBetter campaign found that:

  • 10% of Irish Adults live with chronic pain1
  • 23% of those living with chronic pain have had to quit a job as a result1
  • 56% admit that their condition has stopped them from socialising1
  • GPs/Doctors (99%) and Pharmacists (85%) the first port of call for support on chronic pain1

Dublin,  22 November 2017 – Luke Fitzgerald, former Ireland and Leinster rugby player, spoke today at the launch of a new campaign about his own experience of living with chronic pain. The campaign, #TodayIsBetter, created by Pfizer in partnership with the Irish Pharmacy Union,  Arthritis Ireland, Chronic Pain Ireland, Fibro Ireland, the Irish Cancer Society, and the Migraine Association of Ireland, encourages people like Luke who live with chronic pain to speak out about their experience to ensure their voices are heard by everyone in society.

As part of the #TodayIsBetter initiative, a dedicated campaign website, www.TodayIsBetter.ie was launched today to give those with chronic pain an opportunity to have their say on what would really help them to have a better day – at work, at home, when socialising, or travelling.

#TodayIsBetter campaign ambassador Luke Fitzgerald said, “Many people are aware of the injuries I have had in the past that affected my rugby career. However, what people might not be aware of is the chronic pain I live with every day. I first experienced chronic pain in 2015 after being diagnosed with bulging discs in my cervical spine. I try alleviating the pain with regular exercise and by ensuring my neck is in a neutral position/non-aggravating position while doing everyday tasks. Like many people with chronic pain, everyday things cause me considerable pain. For example, staring at a computer screen for prolonged periods of time can really cause me a lot of discomfort, from headaches to stiffness and loss of feeling.”

Research commissioned by Pfizer as part of the #TodayIsBetter campaign revealed that 10% of the population are living with chronic pain.1 Other research has shown the community prevalence of chronic pain in Ireland to be 35.5%2 and that 25% of people aged 50+ report that they often have moderate or severe pain3. Chronic pain is a disease of the central nervous system, and is defined as pain that either persists beyond the point that healing would be expected to be complete (usually taken as 3-6 months) or that occurs in disease processes in which healing does not take place.4 Amongst those with chronic pain, arthritis (36%) and back pain (34%) are the two most common conditions reported.1

Of the estimated 10% of people living with chronic pain, it was revealed that:

  • 46% feel their condition has had a significant impact on their overall quality of life1;
  • 59% have had to stop hobbies as a direct result of their condition1;
  • 56% admit to socialising less1; and
  • The vast majority rely on their GP/Doctor (99%) and Pharmacist (85%) for ongoing support on chronic pain1.

Campaign material will be distributed by Pfizer throughout November to pharmacies across the country, encouraging them to show their support for the #TodayIsBetter campaign and inspire the public to engage and share their experience of what it’s like to live with chronic pain.

The direct impact in terms of working life for those with chronic pain is also being felt. 23% of those with chronic pain have had to quit a job because of their condition, and 20% took early retirement as a result.1 Younger men surveyed were particularly worried about the potential impact their chronic pain could have on their job.1

John Molony, Business Unit Lead at Pfizer Ireland said, “Chronic pain can be isolating, debilitating and hard to explain. We need to ask as a society, what can we all do to make today better for those who live with chronic pain? It may be difficult for those who do not have chronic pain to relate to and understand what those who do have chronic pain go through on a daily basis. The #TodayIsBetter campaign aims to empower those with chronic pain to have their say on how we all can help them live a better today.”

Daragh Connolly, President of the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) said, “Chronic pain does not command significant attention but it is a debilitating condition, which can seriously affect the quality of life of a sufferer.  Chronic pain can negatively affect patients’ functional ability, quality of life and mood.  Pharmacists have a key role to play in pain management by providing advice and helping patients to categorise the type of pain they are experiencing in order to provide the best treatment options as quickly and as effectively as possible.”

Gráinne O’Leary, Acting CEO and Head of Services at Arthritis Ireland said: “Being heard is an important contributor to well-being. While it doesn’t lessen the physical sensation, increased awareness and understanding of what it’s like to live with chronic pain can have a direct impact on people’s quality of life. This is particularly true for those living with an invisible condition like arthritis.”

Migraine Association of Ireland said: “An estimated 10-15% of the Irish population suffer from migraine. Chronic migraine is a complex neurological condition that places a daily burden of pain on sufferers, adversely affecting their work, social and family life.  This burden is often carried in silence as the symptoms are mostly invisible and the condition misunderstood. The Migraine Association of Ireland is excited to be part of the #TodayIsBetter campaign and believes that by bringing the different chronic pain patient organisations together we can raise awareness of the reality of living with chronic pain to a national level.”

John Lindsay, Chairperson, Chronic Pain Ireland said “People living with Chronic Pain are living with an invisible illness as often the person does not have any visible symptoms. Your colleague at work or the person standing next to you on the bus or train could have chronic pain, and you would never know it.”

Ursula Hakman, Fibro Ireland said “Fibromyalgia is a complex condition but it can be managed and you can have better days. When more than one thing is going wrong, you have to do more than one thing to manage the presenting issues. Taking a multidisciplinary approach involving nutrition, physiotherapy, medications, stress management and sleep hygiene can help you have better days”

Donal Buggy, Head of Services and Advocacy at the Irish Cancer Society said, “Many cancer patients endure the long term reality of chronic pain because of their type of cancer or as a side effect of their treatment. This can affect all aspects of their lives including their ability to spend time with loved ones. This campaign will highlight the issue of chronic pain and help friends and relatives better understand and support those who are living with this reality.”

ENDS

For further information, contact:

Niamh Hogan / Lorraine Cronin

Edelman

Niamh.Hogan@edelman.com  / Lorraine.Cronin@edelman.com

01 678 9333

References

  1. Living with Chronic Pain Patient Survey. Survey conducted by Behaviour and Attitudes.  October 2017
  2. Chronic pain in the Republic of Ireland–community prevalence, psychosocial profile and predictors of pain-related disability: results from the Prevalence, Impact and Cost of Chronic Pain (PRIME) study, part 1.Pain. 2011 May;152(5):1096-103. doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2011.
  3. Positive Ageing 2016. National Indicators Report, Department of Health.
  4. Chronic Pain Ireland http://www.chronicpain.ie/getting-help/what-is-chronic-pain . Accessed October 2017.

 

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