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The Hidden Impact of Joint Pain for People in Manchester- Embarrassing Bodie’s Dr Dawn Harper

Over half of joint pain sufferers (53%) in Manchester use prescribed treatments or painkillers for joint pain relief, highlighting a significant reliance on medication. This reliance brings attention to the broader issue of managing chronic health conditions.
· Young adults in Manchester are increasingly affected by joint pain, with almost 1 in 5 (18%) 18-34 year olds surveyed living with daily joint pain, challenging the misconception that this is an issue only reserved for older generations. This demographic shift underscores the need for wider awareness and inclusive healthcare strategies.
· The silent toll of joint pain on professional life is significant, with 22% reporting negative impacts on their careers. This statistic, coupled with 43% admitting that their mental health is most affected by joint pain, brings to light the unseen burdens carried by many in the workplace.
· Day-to-day activities, often taken for granted, become significant challenges for those living with joint pain. As 41% struggle with climbing stairs and 30% find getting out of bed difficult, the conversation shifts to the importance of acknowledging and addressing these daily hurdles.
· Join Dr Dawn Harper to find out what you can do from today to help home life, work life and talking to your GP.
· 40% of women experience joint pain due to the menopause, highlighting a specific demographic challenge that requires targeted awareness and intervention. Speak to case study, Elizabeth Joseph, to find out about the joint impact of menopause and musculoskeletal pain.
Around a third of people in Manchester live with a musculoskeletal condition, where joint pain can be a significant symptom. On top of that, between one-third and one-half are affected by chronic pain, indicating a deep-seated and widespread problem which doesn’t get the focus it needs.
New survey insights by GOPO® Joint Health reveal that over half of people suffering with joint pain (53%) are dependent on prescribed medication or painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen to manage their condition. While medication can help alleviate joint pain, long-term use may put users at risk of adverse side effects, such as constipation and headaches from analgesics, and indigestion and peptic ulceration from NSAIDs.
Many sufferers do not wish to rely on these medications indefinitely—56% of those who take prescriptions or painkillers to manage symptoms say they would prefer to address their pain with lifestyle and diet changes.
This dependency on pharmaceuticals hints at a broader issue of unresolved chronic pain across the nation.
Joint pain is often associated with ageing, yet alarmingly, almost 1 in 10 (8%) young adults (18-24 years) in Manchester are turning to medication for relief, indicating a rising trend of joint pain in younger demographics. This age group also shows a significant inclination (68%) towards managing pain with lifestyle changes and complimentary or alternative treatments, signaling a shift in attitudes towards pain management among the youth.
The financial burden of managing joint pain is highlighted, with 19% of respondents unable to afford private healthcare and facing long NHS waiting lists, underscoring the economic impact and raising questions about the accessibility and effectiveness of current pain management solutions.
Approximately a quarter (22%) say joint pain has hurt their career, with 21% having to take time off and 18% reducing their working hours. The lack of support from managers, experienced by 10%, adds to the challenge.
Pain’s impact on mental health is significant, with 43% of respondents saying it detrimentally affects them. Furthermore, 31% report limiting their movements to avoid pain, illustrating how joint pain can lead to significant lifestyle restrictions and a reduced quality of life.
Simple tasks become challenging for many; 45% struggle with carrying heavy bags, and 42% are unable to engage in exercise or sports activities. Moreover, 41% find climbing stairs a challenge, a basic activity that many take for granted, and 33% report weight gain because of their joint pain. These figures point to the debilitating nature of joint pain.
The emotional impact is also laid bare; 40% of joint pain sufferers admit that joint pain has negatively affected their quality of life, 35% believe it has negatively affected their self-esteem, and 27% grieve for their past abilities and lifestyle. The emotional burden of joint pain leaves 40% concerned about independence as they age.

The solution isn’t easy, and for many, there simply isn’t one. However, there are steps people can take at home to manage their condition. Join Dr. Dawn Harper to explore home-based strategies and ways to make life, work, and interactions with healthcare professionals easier.
Also, speak with Elizabeth Joseph about the debilitating toll menopausal joint pain took on her life.
About Dr Dawn Harper
Dr Dawn Harper has been an NHS doctor for over 30 years and currently works in General Practice in Gloucestershire. She splits her week between clinical practice and working on all platforms of the media.