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A new study by Nurofen has uncovered that 36% of Brits have experienced new or increased pains during lockdown, even for those who seized the opportunity to swap the commute for more leisure & family time



Tuesday 13th October, Slough, UK: New findings by Nurofen have found that lockdown living has led to new acute pains across the UK. While lockdown has been challenging, for some it also brought unexpected opportunities including more time for family, leisure or working from home. However, the results show that for many across the UK, these opportunities may have contributed to a rise in acute pain perhaps as much as the negative factors of lockdown did.

The survey suggests that people are taking pain relief into their own hands by relying on self-care methods more, such as rest, relaxation and exercise. Less people have sought advice from GPs and pharmacists, as access to health professionals has been limited.i,[ii],[iii] Given many believe these everyday pains will not lessen in the near future,i there is a need for people to learn how to help manage their pain and take positive steps towards appropriately treating or preventing it. 

New acute pain during lockdown impacted respondents across all regions in the UK, showing that the country is facing these challenges together. Whilst lockdown enabled people to spend more time at home with their families, this may have increased pain suffering as 12% of respondents attributed new discomfort to increased childcare hours.i Younger people (aged 25 – 44) said they experienced more back pains and headaches, in comparison to those over 45.i This age group were also more likely to claim that their increased pain was caused by a poor work from home set up and more time looking after their children; perhaps as a result of juggling work with home schooling.i On top of this,   50% of all respondents claimed stress was a key factor in their increased paini, which might have been a reflection of the lockdown climate.

DIY and gardening, which may have been a result of new found leisure time was cited by more than a fifth (21%) as causing more acute pain.i As the UK’s workforce relocated from their offices to their homes, the flexibility of no commute was tempered with a quarter of respondents putting their new ‘lockdown pain’ down to a poor office or workstation set-up at home.i

Many may have taken the opportunity during lockdown to indulge on a favourite TV series or film, however, 39% believed this increased time spent in front of TVs, computers or laptops caused their pain.i In fact, more screen time may also have had other consequences, with 35% believing changing sleep patterns and 33% thought less physical activity also worsened their pain.i, [iv], [v] Some people used the new time gained to improve their health and fitness during lockdown, but this may have led to further pain as 16% of respondents felt exercise had increased their aches.i

“Pain can affect our mood, relationships, family and work life so it’s important that we take steps to deal with it quickly and effectively” commented Dr Sarah Jarvis MBE, a general practitioner.* “It’s clear that adjusting to new ways of living and working has heightened our acute pains, or even caused new ones. It is vital that people deal with their pain early to avoid suffering unnecessarily and rely on trusted sources, such as the NHS or a pharmacist to understand the best solution for their individual needs.”

The survey also found that since lockdown 21% and 17% fewer people have sought advice from GPs and Pharmacists respectively.i This may have resulted in 60% of these respondents wanting more information on how to manage their pain.i

Nurofen are committed to helping people better understand and manage their acute, short-term pain, especially during this critical time. As such, Nurofen recommends people follow the three Ps of acute pain management, in line with NHS guidance:

Proactivity – Be proactive, don’t let acute pain persist

    • Identify pain triggers and address them
    • Be conscious of your pain and take action


Pain relief – Take positive steps to find the solution that works for you

  • Take gentle exercise, breathe right, relax and stretch[vi]
  • The NHS recommends over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen and paracetamol to treat a range of aches, pains and inflammation[vii],[viii]
    • If pain persists, seek advice from a healthcare professional7


Prevention – Help to avoid future pain occurring

  • Understand your pain and how to manage it


Nikki, a parent working from home during lockdown who experienced new pains said: “Lockdown was quite a roller coaster. It was great to spend more time with the children however working from home, schooling the kids and juggling family life was stressful and led to headaches and tension pains. I’ve always been fit and healthy so these pains were completely unexpected especially as I never had any issues with pain in the past.”

“Going to the GP wasn’t an option, so I just tried to manage it at home by trying to find time to relax when I could or take medication bought in a supermarket despite being unsure if these things would help. So many people must have been going through what I experienced, and it amazes me that there isn’t more advice and support relating to pain during lockdown.”

Although some are taking more ownership of their pain management, many think their back pain (38%) or headaches (35%) will not change in the near future.i As people think their pains will persist, there is a heightened importance in being equipped with treatment methods and correct behaviours to help prevent acute pain.

“At Nurofen we recognise that acute pain can be an inevitable part of life, but it shouldn’t take over people’s lives” commented Sezi Unluturk, Category Manager, Nurofen. “With the future still uncertain and life not yet back to normal, it is more important than ever that we continue to offer support and guidance. Our three Ps of Proactivity, Pain relief and Prevention provide holistic guidance to help people approach pain management confidently and safely so they can get on with their lives.”

[i] RWB survey. July 2020.

[ii] GP Online. Face-to-face GP consultations up 70% since start of lockdown. Available at: [ Accessed September 2020].

[iii] The Pharmaceutical Journal. Nearly a third of people more likely to visit their pharmacy first following COVID-19 pandemic. Available at:]

[iv] Headache, back pain, sleep deprivation: Prolonged screen use during Coronavirus lockdown can have detrimental effects. Available at: [Accessed September 2020].

[v] Stretch to ease screen-time-related neck and shoulder pain. Available at: [Accessed September 2020].

[vi] NHS. 10 ways to reduce pain. Available at: [Accessed September 2020].

[vii] NHS. Which painkiller? Available at: [Accessed September 2020]

[viii] NHS. Ibuprofen for adults. Available at: [Accessed September 2020].


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Last Updated: 13-Oct-2020