July 20, 2009 13:33 ET

Osteoarthritis Pain Impacts Canadians Both Physically and Emotionally

Survey reveals boomers with osteoarthritis experience the blues, but are determined to stay positive

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 20, 2009) -

Editor's Note: There is a photo and a video associated with this press release

Getting older is an inevitable fact of life, but a recent survey reveals that Canadian boomers are feeling more than just the physical aches and pains associated with age - they're also experiencing the emotional effects.

Today's boomers strive to be active and enjoy life, but in spite of these efforts many will experience pain due to osteoarthritis, the most common kind of arthritis.(i) A prevalent disease, 80 per cent of everyone over the age of 55 has x-ray evidence of osteoarthritis(ii); however, many people begin experiencing the symptoms by the younger age of 45.

According to the Tylenol(R) Canadian Pain Survey(1) conducted by Angus Reid Strategies, 67 per cent of Canadians 45+ who suffer from osteoarthritis say that having osteoarthritis makes them feel older and more than half (54 per cent) say they have felt down or depressed when osteoarthritis prevents them from participating in their favourite pastimes and activities;(iii) however, the majority maintain a positive outlook about remaining active (88 per cent) and don't let it dominate what they can and cannot do.

"We know that osteoarthritis causes aches and pains, but we tend to forget that these physical effects can set-off a number of emotional effects as well," says Dr. Carter Thorne, Consultant Staff, Southlake Regional Health Centre, Director, The Arthritis Program, Newmarket, Ontario. "You're only as old as you feel, but this survey is showing that many Canadians are feeling older because of osteoarthritis. This disease can be managed, which may help them continue to feel younger than their actual age."

Astonishingly, 90 per cent of respondents experience some physical limitations related to everyday activities as a result of their osteoarthritis, including physical limitation with physical exercise (61 per cent), household cleaning (34 per cent), and working (28 per cent).(iv) Among those who experienced limitations with these activities, more than half reduced participation or completely stopped the activity.(v)

"All too often, I see patients with osteoarthritis who feel down because they aren't able to participate in the activities in the same way they once could. When it becomes difficult to do things like prepare meals, take leisurely walks or even work, it can really affect someone emotionally," continues Dr. Thorne. "But all is not lost! There are effective ways to manage the pain, which may help these individuals return to their normal level of activity."


Arthritis is one of the most common diseases in Canada consisting of more than 100 different conditions and affecting one-in-six Canadians. It is a major cause of disability and health care in Canada.(vi)

The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which affects three million Canadians.(vii) It is characterized by a loss of articular cartilage in the synovial joints (the most movable joints in the human body, like the knee) and although this disease can involve any joint, it most commonly affects hands and weight-bearing joints, such as knees, hips, and back.(viii)


The goals of osteoarthritis management are seven-fold: to relieve pain, control inflammation, maintain/improve function, prevent/correct deformity, provide psychosocial support, provide patient education and encourage self-management techniques.

The Tylenol(R) Canadian Pain Survey reveals that in the past month, nine-in-ten Canadians 45+ with osteoarthritis engaged in some form of treatment to minimize the discomfort associated with their chronic condition.(ix) The majority of sufferers (61 per cent) turned to over-the-counter pain relievers, like Tylenol, for its safety and efficacy, while others (45 per cent) used exercise, followed closely by 30 per cent using hot and cold therapy.

"Taking action to manage pain is an important step in remaining active and feeling good," says Dr. Thorne. "The good news for Canadians with osteoarthritis is that there are lots of options to get back to living life and ultimately aging well."

Dr. Thorne offers the following options to help manage the pain associated with osteoarthritis:

- Exercise - Regular, slow and steady, exercise helps lessen the symptoms of osteoarthritis as it ensures that the muscles and other tissues holding joints together do not weaken. Incorporating range-of-motion exercises, moderate stretching and low-impact exercises, such as swimming, walking, water aerobics and stationary bicycling, can reduce pain while maintaining strength and flexibility. To view the excercise chart, click on the following link: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/tylenol2.pdf

- Protect the joints - Avoiding excess stress on joints affected by arthritis will help lessen pain when performing everyday tasks. To reduce the risk of osteoarthritis in the knees, it is recommended to maintain a healthy body weight as this will reduce stress on the joints.

- Consider over-the-counter options - To help relieve mild to moderate osteoarthritis pain and reduce stiffness, healthcare professionals often suggest taking over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen.(x) This medicine is found in Tylenol(R) Arthritis Pain and provides safe, effective and long lasting pain relief when taken as directed.

- Utilize hot and cold therapy - Because heat promotes blood circulation, it can be applied to arthritic joints to help reduce pain and stiffness. If the joint is inflamed, cold should be applied instead to minimize pain and swelling by constricting blood flow.(xi)

For more information about osteoarthritis management, visit www.livingwell.ca.


McNeil Consumer Healthcare markets a broad range of well-known and trusted over-the-counter (OTC) products around the globe. McNeil Consumer Healthcare, Division of Johnson & Johnson Inc., markets products in the adult and pediatric pain relief, allergy, gastro-intestinal and nicotine-replacement categories under the brand names TYLENOL(R), MOTRIN(R), BENYLIN(R), BENADRYL(R), REACTINE(R), PEPCID(R), IMODIUM(R), ROLAIDS(R), NICORETTE(R) and NICODERM(R).

(1) Tylenol(R) Canadian Pain Survey was conducted from March 25 to 31 by Angus Reid Strategies through an online survey among a randomly selected, representative sample of 1,020 adult Canadians aged 45+ suffering from osteoarthritis. The margin of error for the total sample is +/- 2.2 %, 19 times out of 20.


(i) Arthritis Society. About Osteoarthritis.

http://www.arthritis.ca/types%20of%20arthritis/osteoarthritis/default.asp?s=1 Last accessed April 17, 2009.

(ii) Brandt, K. Diagnosis and Nonsurgical Management of Osteoarthritis, 4th Edition. Pg. 23.

(iii) Tylenol Canadian Pain Survey. Aging & Arthritis phase.

(iv) Tylenol Canadian Pain Survey. Aging & Arthritis phase.

(v) Tylenol Canadian Pain Survey. Aging & Arthritis phase.

(vi) Arthritis in Canada report. Public Health Agency of Canada. http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/publicat/ac/ac_3e-eng.php. Last accessed April 28, 2009.

(vii) The Arthritis Society of Canada website: www.arthritis.ca. Osteoarthritis. http://www.arthritis.ca/types%20of%20arthritis/osteoarthritis/default.asp?s=1. Last accessed on April 20, 2009.

(Viii) Hochberg M. J Rheumatol. 1991;18:1438-1440.

(ix) Tylenol Canadian Pain Survey. Aging & Arthritis phase.

(x) The Arthritis Society of Canada website: www.arthritis.ca. Osteoarthritis. http://www.arthritis.ca/types%20of%20arthritis/osteoarthritis/default.asp?s=1. Last accessed on May 26, 2009.

(xi) The Arthritis Society of Canada website: www.arthritis.ca. Osteoarthritis. http://www.arthritis.ca/types%20of%20arthritis/osteoarthritis/default.asp?s=1. Last accessed on May 26, 2009

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