The impact of arthritis on pain and quality of life: an Australian survey

Int J Rheum Dis. 2014 Feb;17(2):149-55. doi: 10.1111/1756-185X.12232. Epub 2013 Nov 24.


Objective: To determine the impact of arthritis pain and quality of life among adults with arthritis-related pain in Australia.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted on a convenience sample of adults with arthritis-related pain in Australia from an access research panel. The survey was administered to 1039 participants who reported experiencing pain or loss of mobility as a result of their arthritis. The survey covered details of their condition, descriptions of the pain, impacts of pain on their daily lives, information regarding pain management and medication, the Measure of Intermittent and Constant Osteoarthritis Pain (ICOAP) tool, the EQ5D (a standardized measure of health tool) and demographic information.

Results: Osteoarthritis (OA) was the most common form of arthritis (69% of respondents). The back (65%), knees (64%) and fingers (61%) were the regions in which pain was most commonly reported; 87% of respondents reported that their pain tended to change in intensity, with exercise and cold weather producing significantly increased levels of pain. Forty-seven percent of patients reported that the worst impact of arthritis was on their capacity to carry out activities of daily living. The majority of patients (71%) found their pain management programs to be of 'medium effectiveness' or 'fairly effective', although 17% described it as ineffective.

Conclusion: Persons with arthritis in Australia demonstrate marked pain-related functional impairment characterized by difficulty with many aspects of daily activity. The results suggest that a substantial benefit may be derived from increased awareness of the disease and increased knowledge about the potential for improved management.

Keywords: arthritis; impact; pain; quality of life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arthralgia / diagnosis
  • Arthralgia / epidemiology*
  • Arthralgia / physiopathology
  • Arthralgia / psychology
  • Arthralgia / therapy
  • Arthritis / diagnosis
  • Arthritis / epidemiology*
  • Arthritis / physiopathology
  • Arthritis / psychology
  • Arthritis / therapy
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Cost of Illness
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Management
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Quality of Life*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult