Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance
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  • The Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance (ARMA) is the umbrella body for the arthritis and musculoskeletal community in the UK, and our mission is to transform the quality of life of people with musculoskeletal conditions. We have 40 member organisations ranging from specialised support groups for rare diseases to major research charities and national professional bodies.

Tag: chronic pain

Pain Alliance Europe are asking for responses to the 2018 edition of the Survey on Chronic Pain, which highlights how pain can affect the work-life of pain patients.

The charities who are members of Pain Alliance Europe (PAE) are inviting people with chronic pain or their carers to fill in this short survey on the effect of their chronic pain on their quality of life, their work situation and about any financial help they receive. The survey starts with some basic questions.

This is the second survey that PAE has created on the theme of chronic pain, in a series of annual surveys on the impact of pain. With each survey, PAE will analyse a different aspect of the impact of pain on the quality of life of the chronic pain patients in Europe.

A report will be created at the end of this survey, comparing the pain patients’ experiences in different countries. This report will be publicised by Pain Alliance Europe in order to reinforce their actions and promotions in order to make politicians and policy makers more aware of the important issue of chronic pain.

You can also follow @pain_europe on Twitter and share the poster [PDF].


The final scope for the NICE Chronic pain: assessment and management guideline has now been published, along with all the stakeholder comments that were received during consultation and responses to these comments.

NICE would like to thank you for your continued involvement and interest in this guideline. The comments received during the consultation period helped us to develop and refine the scope. ARMA has been identified as a key stakeholder for this topic and will be contacted again when the draft guideline is released for consultation.

If you have any further queries, please contact

Accredited pharmacists in England, Wales and Northern Ireland can offer an enhanced patient service called a Medicines Use Review (MUR).  This structured review is free to patients, and is designed primarily to help them manage their medicines more effectively.  Little is known about how often this service is used for people living with pain. We know little about pharmacists’ and pain patients’ views of what happens in pain-related MURs, or why they don’t engage, and what they would like to happen.

We know GPs and pharmacists do not collaborate well over MURs but not enough about why. If we knew more about how best to use MURs for pain patients, we could significantly reduce their suffering. Hence the aim of this research is to optimise the MUR service for pain patients, pharmacists and GPs.

Objective 1: To establish how many Medicines Use Reviews are conducted for pain patients within a UK sample, using these data to estimate national usage. We will also investigate any trends regarding who does pain-related MURs and related demographic variables if the sample size allows. This objective will be achieved via an online survey with appropriate statistical analyses of numerical data. In practice, it is nearly always community pharmacists who conduct MURs, so we will focus on them, henceforth simply calling them “pharmacists”.

Objective 2: To explore what would constitute an optimum pain-related MUR service, according to the views of the three key groups of stakeholders: pain patients, pharmacists and GPs. We will conduct in-depth interviews with 30 community pharmacists, 30 pain patients and 30 GPs about three key issues. Firstly, we will explore their views of MURs: what currently happens, what they would like to happen in an optimal future, and how many pain-related MURs they engage in (patients/pharmacists) or receive information about (GPs). If NHS England has proposed any changes to MURs, as has been suggested may happen, we will also investigate participants’ views on these. Secondly, we will research how these three groups think MURs could impact on analgesic medicines optimisation, notably opioid prescribing, a topical clinical issue.  Thirdly, we will research if our three stakeholder groups think MURs could discuss the impact of pain on work, given that work can be a key health outcome yet is not currently included. We will conduct thematic analysis on our interview data, and engage participants with checking analyses as part of our co-creation of new knowledge about what is needed to optimise MURs

Objective 3: To combine our data analysis with stakeholder input and relevant resources, following behaviour change and implementation science guidelines, producing 3 templates to help pharmacists, pain patients and GPs optimise use of MURs.

Objective 4: To evaluate these 3 templates via an online stakeholder study, which includes patients/pharmacists trying the templates, so they are fully ready for a future trial.


This project is a cost-effective way to benefit pain patients’ lives by supporting them to engage effectively with MURs. It should also benefit pharmacists and GPs, since our best practice templates enable optimum MUR use.

Pain is a good exemplar of conditions labelled as having medically unexplained symptoms so this research has great potential for application to MURs for other conditions that can have unexplained elements like depression, anxiety and fatigue. There is a very similar service to the MUR in Scotland called the Chronic Medication Service – we focus on MURs here but much of our work should be applicable to the Scottish service in considering how to maximise medicines optimisation and whether work can be a part of the conversation within a medicines review framework. A recent review showed that not enough is known about the current state and potential of MURs and it is imperative that this is addressed, to reduce the suffering to themselves and others that pain patients currently endure.

Elaine Wainwright, Senior Lecturer in Applied Psychology
Bath Spa University

Upcoming North Wales support group meetings for people with arthritis and chronic pain.


7th August 2017
4th September 2017
2nd October 2017
6th November 2017
4th December 2017

Holywell Community Hospital, North Wales.
The meeting room is behind the cafe and opposite the reception area.

Open full-size and save the flyer for more details, or see the North Wales Arthritis & Chronic Pain Support Group Facebook page.

The UK Gout Society recently attended the 7th European Symposium of the Societal Impact of Pain (SIP 2017) in Malta, organised by the European Pain Federation (EFIC), Pain Alliance Europe, the Active Citizen Network and Grünenthal.
The event brought together stakeholders from across the EU and MSK community – and provided a platform to raise awareness of the impact of pain, exchange ideas and information, develop consensus and policy strategies, and debate pain as a quality indicator for healthcare systems.

One-in-five adults in the EU are currently living with chronic pain. Direct and indirect healthcare spending on chronic varies between 2-3 percent of GDP across the member states. With more than 500 million sick days per year in Europe, musculoskeletal pain alone causes almost 50 percent of all absences from work. Yet chronic pain remains poorly managed and under-treated – not only affecting individuals living with pain, and the people close to them – but society at large.

There were a wide variety of informative and inspiring workshops and plenary sessions at the conference. These included presentations by advocacy groups, such as AGORA (the coalition of 19 southern European rheumatic and musculoskeletal disease patient organisations), Fibromyalgie France (French Fibromyalgia Association), and Arthritis Care Scotland; as well as lead clinicians, educational institutions, the Spanish Ministry of Health, European Medicines Agency, the German Pain Society, Fit for Work and the European Commission. MEPs also took an active part in debates – offering attendees to email them directly with questions regarding chronic pain for the European Parliament.

Despite the disparate speakers and content, common themes were apparent throughout the conference. Calls for a cross-functional approach to tackling chronic pain were echoed across many of the working group presentations and plenary sessions. Patients, doctors, insurers employers, policy makers and politicians need to work together to push chronic pain up the political and healthcare agenda. The need for structured cooperation between healthcare systems across Europe to tackle the societal impact of pain was deemed to be imperative – as well as the need for greater research and surveillance.

Another important topic was the role of terminology in ‘making or breaking’ patient access to medicines and health services. Is chronic pain a disease in its own right – chronic primary pain – other than just co-existing with other conditions? There was also a report from the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) Task Force for the Classification of Chronic Pain and the current field testing of a new version of the WHO’s ICD-11 which now includes codes for chronic pain.

At the close of SIP 2017, Martin Seychell, Deputy Director General DG SANTE, European Commission, announced the launch of an expert group on the social impact of pain within the EU’s Policy Platform. He stated: “We cannot have a successful Europe without taking care of our most important asset – our people.”
Overall, it was clear from the conference that, while acute pain may reasonably be considered a symptom of disease or injury – chronic and recurrent pain is a specific healthcare problem. “The relief of pain should be a human right,” concluded the President of EFIC.

Following SIP2017, on 16th June, EU Health Ministers, under the leadership of the Maltese Presidency, called for a review of access to treatment for patients suffering from chronic pain.