A new campaign to spread awareness of chronic pain through TV and media has been launched by the UK charity, Versus Arthritis.
There are said to be 18 million people currently living with a chronic pain condition in the UK. However, despite how common it is, chronic pain is all too often dismissed and misconceived.
Here, we will look at the new campaign and why spreading awareness of the condition through TV is important.
What is chronic pain?
Chronic pain is commonly referred to as an invisible illness. It can be debilitating and cause suffering, yet because it can’t be seen, it is typically shrugged off by society.
Sometimes there is an obvious cause of long-term pain, such as trauma, inflammation, surgical procedure, following injury to peripheral nerves, spinal cord, brain or osteoarthritis. However, in many cases the cause can be difficult to find and investigate. This includes conditions such as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Facial pain.
Chronic pain can last months, or even years. It has got both physical and psychological dimensions and is often challenging to treat. This is especially true given that everyone experiences pain differently.
Understanding the campaign
The Painful Truth campaign launched by Versus Arthritis, is calling for the film and TV industry to highlight the experiences of those who suffer with chronic pain conditions. If chronic pain were better represented, it would help patients suffering with it feel heard and understood.
The charity has created a guide for the film and TV industry, showing them how they can better represent chronic pain on screen. More than 4,000 people worked on creating the guide, including health professionals and patients living with chronic pain or arthritis. It gives information on the condition, alongside suggestions for creating more accurate storylines. There are also example stories from real sufferers of the condition, highlighting what it is like to live with it on a daily basis.
[external link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/gusalexiou/2021/05/12/tv-and-films-hold-a-unique-power-to-shine-a-light-on-invisible-disabilities/]
Why is spreading awareness of chronic pain on screen important?
Despite how common chronic pain is, there is currently little public awareness regarding the condition. This lack of understanding can leave sufferers feeling isolated and alone.
Versus Arthritis carried out a study to determine how frequently chronic pain was covered in TV and film. They looked at 100 hours of popular TV and film footage from 2019, including Killing Eve, The Avengers, and Line of Duty. This revealed that only six minutes of screen time was given to highlighting the experiences of those living with chronic pain. Not only that, but when it was mentioned, it was typically misrepresented or dismissed.
This dismissal and a lack of relevant storylines is causing those who suffer with chronic pain to hide their experiences. It can also prevent them from seeking the help they desperately need.
Spreading awareness of chronic pain through TV and film will help the millions of sufferers who live with the condition daily. Those who are experiencing the condition need to understand that there are effective treatment options available.
Pain expert Dr Ivanova-Stoilova is committed to correctly diagnosing the pain syndrome, to assess its severity, duration and progression and firmly believes that a person’s report of an experience as pain should be respected. Call 01633 820 300 to arrange a consultation in Dr Ivanova-Stoilova’s pain clinic.