New data just released by the NHS has revealed that over 5.3 million people are currently waiting for routine operations, the highest number since records began in 2007. According to a report published in the Lancet Journal of Rheumatology, this includes nearly 100,000 arthritis patients who are overdue joint replacement surgeries, in the meantime suffering with prolonged pain and limited mobility. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the report states that patients waiting over a year for surgery are one hundred times the number from 2019.
With NHS resources still under strain, waiting lists continue to grow, having a profound impact on chronic joint pain management and quality of life. In fact, 60% of those waiting for knee replacement surgery are reported to be suffering with depression. A further new study has found that those left suffering with a quality of life deemed “worse than death” has nearly doubled, a result of delayed joint replacement surgeries.
This news comes not long following a report by the healthcare regulatory body NICE, condemning commonly used painkillers, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, as offering little to no evidence of relief from secondary chronic pain, with potentially harmful side effects if taken long-term. Despite this, it is predicted that nearly half of arthritis sufferers are dependent on paracetamol for pain relief, leaving a short-fall in safe and sustainable options for symptom management.
Forced to self-manage chronic pain for longer durations, and with increased perceptions of pain during the pandemic, patients should be looking for sustainable long-term alternatives to improve their quality of life. This includes lifestyle changes, such as gentle exercise, and incorporating pain-relieving supplements into their diets which have high safety profiles and clinical evidence to support their efficacy and long-term use.
Consultant rheumatologist Dr Rod Hughes comments: ‘Now the side effects of paracetamol are well documented it is imperative that we look at safer, long term alternatives for those living with joint pain. Many people with painful joint conditions feel they benefit from taking joint supplements – either instead of, or in addition to, their prescribed medications.
‘Rose-hip extracts have a long history of medicinal use, with consistent and robust research having been undertaken on extracts from a specific species of rose-hip called Rosa canina, which has been found to contain a powerful anti-inflammatory compound called GOPO.
‘GOPO has been shown in randomised, placebo controlled clinical trials to significantly reduce arthritis joint pain, and reduce consumption of paracetamol by 40%. In vitro studies have demonstrated GOPO® has anti-inflammatory properties which have a protective effect on cartilage, potentially even helping cartilage and joint tissues to rebuild and regenerate. It has been found to have a positive safety profile and is able to be taken long term.’
GOPO Joint Health is a powerful natural anti-inflammatory supplement made from 100% specially cultivated natural rose-hip, with a high level of the galactolipid GOPO.
Extensive scientific studies involving patients with chronic pain conditions, such as osteoarthritis, have shown that GOPO® enables significant and consistent pain relief and improved joint function, while helping to protect against the degeneration of cartilage. In one study, 8 out of 10 patients reported a significant reduction in pain after just three weeks of daily GOPO supplementation.
Researchers have also concluded that GOPO may be more effective than regularly taking either paracetamol or glucosamine in terms of pain reduction in osteoarthritis.