Arthritis Foundation Survey of Osteoarthritis Patients Illustrates COVID-19 Impact on Chronic Pain & Dire Need to Improve Access to Innovative Pain Treatments 

More than 8 out of 10 respondents rank reducing pain as the most important aspect of a new osteoarthritis treatment; Arthritis Foundation launches critical patient-focused efforts during Pain Awareness Month in September. 

Atlanta, September 1, 2020 – The Arthritis Foundation today released groundbreaking results from a survey of nearly 2,000 osteoarthritis patients, Osteoarthritis (OA) & Pain: A Deeper Understanding of Patient Experiences & Treatment Needs. The survey results demonstrate the current challenges that osteoarthritis patients are experiencing in managing pain during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the urgent need to expand access to new and innovative treatments for osteoarthritis.

“The Arthritis Foundation is committed to better addressing the unique challenges that osteoarthritis patients face and advocating for solutions that expand access to more effective treatment options and improve the patient-physician relationship,” said Ann M. Palmer, Arthritis Foundation president and chief executive officer. “The Arthritis Foundation survey results point to the urgency with which we must drive innovation and patient-centered policies to improve pain management for those with osteoarthritis and other pain conditions.”

Among key findings from the Arthritis Foundation survey:

  • 64% of respondents have had osteoarthritis for 10 years or more.
  • Only 15% of respondents reported that their osteoarthritis is well-managed.
  • 85% of respondents ranked reducing pain as the most important goal for a new treatment.
  • 37% of respondents reported that they’ve missed or cancelled a doctor’s appointment due to fear of COVID-19 infection.

The Arthritis Foundation survey results emphasize the need to prioritize research and innovations that bring new, non-opioid treatment options to patients who are managing osteoarthritis and other chronic pain conditions. Alternative, non-addictive medications could help many patients better treat and manage their pain symptoms and ultimately improve quality of life for millions of Americans living with joint pain.

This summer, the Arthritis Foundation joined more than 30 leading national organizations in delivering a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and National Institutes of Health (NIH), urging both agencies to make the development and availability of treatments for pain – and particularly non-addictive options – a high priority within their agencies. The Arthritis Foundation and other organizations are calling upon the FDA and NIH to implement provisions of the SUPPORT Act to gather stakeholder input on the individualized needs of patients to inform the research and development of treatments for pain. In particular, the groups involved recommend the FDA convenes at least three public meetings in the next 18 months.

“Pain management puts an immense burden on osteoarthritis patients and affects all aspects of an individual’s life,” said Palmer. “Product innovation in pain management could have positive direct and indirect benefits for patients and the U.S. health care system.”

During Pain Awareness Month this September, the Arthritis Foundation has launched a number of activities under its ongoing “Let’s Get a Grip on Arthritis” campaign to meet patients where they are and support them in managing their pain and other aspects of their health, including:

  • Virtual Connect Groups focused on sleep management
  • Special Edition Episodes of the Live Yes! With Arthritis Podcast focused on back pain and building a comprehensive personalized pain plan, hosted by Arthritis Foundation staff who are also arthritis patients
  • A Pain Management Solutions Webinar moderated by Arthritis Foundation staff

Throughout September, the Arthritis Foundation will release several patient education resources with a focus on pain management:  downloadable e-books, a pain quiz, emails and other resources to shed light on the impact pain plays in the lives of those living with arthritis and that provide interactive opportunities to support people with arthritis and their families. To learn more about the “Let’s Get a Grip on Arthritis” campaign, resources and events, visit

The independent Arthritis Foundation research and survey on osteoarthritis and chronic pain was made possible with financial support from Pfizer, Inc.

About the Arthritis Foundation:

The Arthritis Foundation is the Champion of Yes, offering ways to turn the many Nos people with arthritis face into opportunities of Yes. Leading the fight for the arthritis community, the Foundation helps conquer everyday battles through life-changing information and resources, access to optimal care, advancements in science and community connections. The Arthritis Foundation’s goal is to chart a winning course, guiding families in developing personalized plans for living a full life – and making each day another stride towards a cure. Learn more at

Media Contact
Lynn Parsons
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