People are outraged after tweet about chronic pain goes viral

Social media users left outraged by ‘frustrating NHS advice on ‘ways to manage chronic pain’ – which tells people to ‘exercise and ‘continue to work’

  • Social media users from across the UK were stunned by NHS UK website page 
  • Advice on the site included advising people with chronic pain to ‘exercise’
  • One wrote it had ‘been written by someone who has never experienced pain’
  • Meanwhile another said it directly went against the advice of their doctor 

Social media users have been left outraged after advice on the NHS website about ‘ways to manage chronic pain’ went viral. 

British Twitter user Sarah M shared a screenshot of the advice in a Tweet, which racked up more than 22,500 likes, captioning it: ‘Jesus Christ man…95 per cent of that page is offering no advice about managing your pain at all…@NHSUK just say you don’t know anything.’

The advice was taken from the NHS UK website, under the sections marked ‘Live Well’ and ‘Pain’ and reads: ‘Ways to manage chronic pain. Exercise and continuing to work if you can are key to managing persistent pain, also known as chronic pain, to help lead a fuller life.’

Other Twitter users were stunned by the advice, with some saying it contradicted what they had been told by doctors about managing their pain. 

One commented: ‘It’s a 100 per cent certainty that this is written by someone who has never experienced chronic pain.’

Social media users have been left outraged after advice on the NHS website about ‘ways to manage chronic pain’ went viral 

British Twitter user Sarah M shared the advice online, commenting that the page offered ‘no actual advice’ about managing pain  

A second added: ‘Yep that’s about what we get.

‘Surprised they haven’t included ‘We think you’re making it up and it’s all in your head’ like the physiotherapist told me before giving me a HIIT routine I can’t do and then asking me to leave.’

And a third said: ‘I was literally told exercise was damaging my joints and making my pain worse, what?’

Another person commented: ‘Let me just pop the pain that makes me cry on a shelf for an hour to do yoga…’ 


Other Twitter users were left equally outraged by page, with some saying they had been advised by doctors to avoid exercising 

What is chronic pain?

Chronic pain is defined as continuous long-term pain that either lasts more than 12 weeks, or persists for an unusual length of time following trauma or surgery.

It is widespread: almost ten million Britons suffer almost daily, according to the British Pain Society. 

The mainstay treatment is normally painkillers.

However, a swathe of new studies shows that our most frequently used strong pain medications are not only ineffective for common conditions, they are also dangerous — and may even themselves cause chronic pain. 

A fifth wrote: ‘”We’re not going to help you anyway so just carry on as you were.”‘

Another added: ‘The NHS is objectively terrible for so many chronic conditions.’ 

‘Chronic pain is such a wide scope of injury/Condition they shouldn’t be giving any advice at all,’ one commented.

‘So basically ‘just push through’,’ another questioned, ‘That’s part of the reason I am where I am, cos I ‘pushed through’ for so long.’ 

However others disagreed and said the advice on the NHS website had worked for them, with one saying ‘this is right on’

However others disagreed and said the advice on the NHS website had worked for them.

Dance is the greatest medicine! Expert says that doing a jive every day can reduce anxiety, help manage chronic pain

Move aside laughter, dancing may be the real natural medicine for treating anxiety and chronic pain.

Starre Vartan, a prominent science writer and former-geologist writes for the Washington Post that dance helped her get through tough, lonely, times during the COVID-19 pandemic, and experts agree that the activity can have positive impacts on the brain.

While there have been known links between regular physical activity and improved mental health, experts say that there could be some further benefits for dancing.

Daily dancing has been linked to lessoning anxiety symptoms, management of chronic pain, and even an overall higher quality of life for people suffering from Alzheimer’s.

One commented: ‘TBH, when I do move and keep active in the gym, it helps with my pains.’

Another wrote: ‘This is right on. 

‘If pains come from nothing else than old age, got to keep moving or pain will get worse. It’s a cycle.’ 

A third added: ‘Yeah they don’t know. But is this not the best advice they can give for a short and general blurb?

‘Honest question, coming from my own unemployment and resulting stir craziness.

‘Idk, I’d rather just be encouraged to stay active and engaged than be prescribed painkillers.’  

Chronic primary pain is a condition in itself which cannot be accounted for by another diagnosis or as a symptom of an underlying condition. 

Doctors often define chronic pain as any pain that lasts for three to six months or more.

It is notoriously difficult to treat, and is characterised by significant emotional distress and functional disability.

On the NHS website, the advice comes under sections marked ‘Live Well’ and ‘Pain’.

It reads: ‘Lying in bed for long periods can make back pain last longer. Lack of activity can make: you stiffen, up, your muscles and bones weaker, you sleep less well, you become lonely and depressed, pain feel worse.’

And it adds that a ‘better approach’ to reducing pain is a combination of: exercise, staying at work, physical therapy and painkillers.

The NHS advice also offers specific options for exercise, painkillers and working. 

It recommends ‘light’ exercise, including walking, swimming, yoga, dancing or pilates.

And the site also suggests talking to a boss or supervisor about your condition, trying to go in and work with tailored changes to suit you.

Finally, it mentions physical therapy, saying that a course of it may help with pain and that it will be delivered by a physiotherapist or chiropractor.

The NHS website also recommends painkillers but says that adults should try and stick to paracetamol.

Evidence suggests cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which is already used in the NHS for chronic primary pain, improves quality of life and is not harmful.

A newer type of therapy called ‘acceptance and commitment therapy’ has been shown in a small number of studies to improve quality of life and sleep, and reduce pain and psychological distress.

Many of those reading the page online were outraged by the suggestion that ‘exercise’ and ‘staying at work’ could help reduce their pain 

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