Arthritis New Zealand published an online survey shared on social media on people’s experience of pain to help us better understand arthritis pain and develop more resources to help people manage pain.

We acknowledge that the survey respondents are all in different stages of their lives, have different levels of understanding of their conditions and have different types of arthritis. The survey does not represent all people in New Zealand with arthritis as it did not request those details from consumers. This was a top-line survey to gather some general data about arthritic pain.

More than half of the 147 respondents say they always experience pain, and more than 40% say they experience pain often. Less than half say they sometimes manage their pain effectively. Very few have it properly under control (4,76%).

The types of pain that most people experience include dull to severe aches, burning, throbbing, grinding, stabbing, pinching and sharp pain. Many people describe stiffness and tightness as a type of pain too. Others describe the pain as “sandpaper” and “shards of broken glass”.

The most challenging aspects of managing pain:

  • keeping moving when in pain,
  • finding the right balance between movement and rest,
  • getting the pain to stop once it starts,
  • getting enough sleep,
  • managing pain at work,
  • not knowing what medication to take or when and how often.


What are the most effective strategies that you use to manage your pain?

A key point that one respondent made is “trying not to let the pain manage me and my life”.

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