Media Resources

Welcome to our media section. These pages will provide useful information about pain-related matters, within the frequently asked question and surveys & reports sections. The Society is happy to be approached for interview or comment. You are also welcome to request a press pass to any of our meetings.


  1. FAQ's
  2. Surveys and Reports
  3. BPS in the Media
  4. Contact the Society
  5. Press Passes


1. How many people are affected by pain the UK?
Almost 10 million Britons suffer pain almost daily resulting in a major impact on their quality of life and more days off work.

2. How many days are lost at work due to pain related problems
A survey by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Endometriosis showed that on average women with this condition lose 55 days from work per annum. The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society estimate that 9.4 million working days are lost through Rheumatoid Arthritis, which is a painful condition. The TUC reported that British businesses lose an estimated 4.9 million days to employee absenteeism through work related back pain - with the North East suffering more than most, with 2 people in every hundred having to cope with the condition. With each affected employee taking an average of 19 days off work this is clearly a problem that needs to be addressed. These surveys show that this is an enormous problem but there does not appear to be an accurate measure of the total burden to industry of chronic pain.

3. How many people lose their job because of pain related illness?
This is not known, and there appears to be no statistics for this.

4. How much does it cost the exchequer in disability benefits?
The exact cost of chronic pain is unknown. The cost of back pain to the exchequer is estimated to be in the region of £5billion per annum. There are many people with pain who are not able to work who are not covered by this or by allowances, such as those women who are not working but are maintained by their partner, or those who have taken early retirement on the grounds of ill health. The total cost of pain to the economy in terms of people removed from the workplace because of chronic pain is unknown. The only estimate is from the fact that 2.7 million people are on incapacity benefit, and this is probably an underestimation of the total number of people not working for the reasons described above.

5. How much does it cost the NHS in treatment of pain?
The cost to the NHS of treating chronic pain is not known. Recent studies have demonstrated that the cost of adolescent pain is nearly £4billion per annum alone, calculated at an average of £8000 per teenager. In 1993 the cost of back pain to the NHS was estimated at nearly £500,000.

6. Does gender affect your threshold on your ability to deal with pain?
There is a growing body of evidence to show that, contrary to popular belief, the pain threshold in women is less than that of men.

7. What is the definition of Acute Pain?
Acute pain is short-term pain of less than twelve weeks duration.

8. What is the definition of Chronic/persistent pain?
Chronic pain is continuous, long-term pain of more than 12 weeks or after the time that healing would have been thought to have occurred in pain after trauma or surgery.

9. What is the definition of Neuropathic pain?
Neuropathic pain is pain initiated or caused by a primary lesion or dysfunction in the peripheral or central nervous system. For example pain following shingles, or an amputation, or spinal cord trauma. Pain that occurs in diabetics or in patients with multiple sclerosis. Can also be neuropathic.

10. Are alternative medicines such as acupuncture or hypnosis an effective pain relief?
Many complementary therapies have been found to be useful as part of an overall pain management regime. Hypnotherapy,including self hypnosis can be used as part of a relaxation technique. Acupuncture and acupressure may be helpful in the management of chronic headaches, migraine and muscle pain syndromes. Homoeopathy is generally being shown to be of no benefit. There are a large number of other therapies which are being offered at a variety of costs. Many of them have not been proven to be of any benefit, and the majority of these have not been subjected to clinical trials to show whether or not there is any benefit. It is important to tell your doctor if you are using any form of herbal medicines as these may interact with other prescribed drugs. It is important to remember that when using natural remedies, natural does not mean safe.

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Surveys and Reports

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BPS in the Media

BBC Radio Kent - interview with Dr Austin Leach, Pain Consultant and BPS Media Liaison
Aired on Tuesday 21st June, 10:30AM

The following points were discussed:

Up to 28 million Britons are living with chronic pain, new estimates suggest.  Problems such as low back pain or osteoarthritis affect between 35% and 51% of British adults, according to a new study.

  • How debilitating chronic can be?  
  • What help is available?
  • ?And can chronic pain be quite isolating? 

Daily Mail - Is using the power of your MIND the best way to treat chronic pain?
Published by the Daily Mail on Monday, 13th June 2016 

Read more:

Three members of Council of the British Pain Society is quoted above.

The painkillers that could make chronic pain WORSE: 'Endorphins become less effective and make people more sensitive'
Published by the Daily Mail on 29th February 2016 

Read more:

Three members of the Council of the British Pain Society are quoted in the above feature.


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Contact the Society

For all journalist enquiries, please contact the Secretariat of the Society by telephone on 0207 269 7840 or by email at

Request for Interview 
Only Officers of the Society are authorised to speak to the media on behalf of the Society. The Officers are not based at the Secretariat, however, they can be contacted for interview via When contacting the Society, please provide the following details:

  • Date and time of interview
  • Theme/Subject/Topic
  • Location e.g. studio, telephone based
  • Format e,g. Live, pre-recorded, patient phone-ins
  • Media Tool: e.g. TV, radio, website, journal

Request for Comment
Only Officers of the Society are authorised to speak to the media on behalf of the Society. The Officers are not based at the Secretariat, however, they can be contacted for comment via When contacting the Society, please provide the following details:

  • Theme/topic of request e.g. gender differences in pain
  • Add your request in form of a question
  • Deadline
  • When the article will be published

The Society requests that it is sent copies of any printed/audio links where interview or comment has been provided.

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Press Passes

If you require a press pass for any of our events e.g. ASMs, Study Days, SIG Meetings, please contact Jenny Nicholas by telephone on 020 7269 7844 or by email at  

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