STAINES, England, September 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --
- The Pain Within, a touring exhibition of portraits and images by award-winning photographer Alex Telfer, reveals the untold stories of some of Europe'speripheral neuropathic pain (PNP) patients
"I find it incredibly hard to be a mother with neuropathic pain"…"It feels like I'm being stabbed with a knife over and over again"…"I wasn't able to work, drive my car or participate in family life" is how just three patients describe their experiences of PNP.
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Top photographer Alex Telfer has worked with PNP patients to capture experiences in both portraits and visual metaphors for his exhibition The Pain Within, sponsored by Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd. Raising public awareness of PNP, the exhibition is touring major European cities and launched today to an audience of influential pain treatment specialists in September at the 7th congress of the European Federation of IASP Chapters (EFIC) in Hamburg. It will then tour in other countries in Europe.
Patients featured in the exhibition include Katharina, who developed neuropathic pain after breaking her arm in a gym class and who experiences persistent stabbing pain. She describes struggling to cope with her condition that prevented her from sleeping and meant that she was too exhausted and overwhelmed to get on with the normal activities of daily life. Ulrike, whose pain started after an ankle operation, reveals how neuropathic pain makes it very difficult for her to care for her young daughter. Katharina and Ulrike are just two of the eight subjects of The Pain Withinexhibition. Although their stories are very different, they have one thing in common: they all suffer from neuropathic pain, a condition which is thought to affect between 3% and 8% of the population in Europe.[1,2]
PNP is a chronic pain caused by damage to the peripheral nervous system, which is the vast communications network that covers the entire body, transmitting information to and from the brain and spinal cord. PNP can develop as a result of injuries, surgery or from diseases including diabetes, shingles and HIV or even as a result of using some medications. Since the problem is caused by damage to nerves, there is often nothing visibly 'wrong' with a patient suffering from PNP - yet the pain may be unbearably intense and can be life-changing. During the photo shoot, Telfer's subjects likened their pain to a range of unpleasant sensations including stabbing, burning, electric shocks and being attacked by swarms of ants.
The invisible burden of PNP is often underestimated by sufferers' family, colleagues and friends, and treatment of the condition remains a great challenge. PNP can last indefinitely and can become worse over time. It can have an overwhelming impact on a patient's family life, social life, ability to work and engagement in day-to-day activities.[3,4] Neuropathic pain is also associated with a poorer quality of life than chronic conditions including cancer, heart failure, type 2 diabetes, Parkinson's disease and stroke.The Pain Within tour is intended to raise public awareness of PNP and to foster understanding of the condition and the heavy burden it places on patients.
Photographer Alex Telfer says: "With these images I have tried to capture not only how these people look, but also how they perceive their pain, how they feel about it. My aim was to give visitors to the exhibition the opportunity to glimpse life through the eyes of someone suffering from PNP, to understand their experience, and to gain an insight into living with this type of chronic pain."
Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd. is sponsoring The Pain Within exhibition as part of its commitment to people living with PNP.
"PNP is a devastating condition which is made all the more difficult to bear for those who live with it by the fact that it is not well-known or understood," said Ken Jones, President and CEO, Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd. "We hope that, by making the invisible visible, this exhibition will help to change that and will play a part in creating an environment in which the needs of patients are more widely recognised."
Notes for Editors
About The Pain Within exhibition tour
The Pain Within exhibition will tour European cities over the coming months. The first exhibition will take place in Hamburg, Germany on 21 September 2011. The exhibition will then continue its tour in Europe.
About Alex Telfer
Alex Telfer is an advertising and editorial photographer born and raised in the North of England, where he still resides. He carries out commissions for a broad roster of advertising agencies across the UK, Europe and USA. Clients for recent assignments include Nike, Nikon, Sony Music, Ernst & Young, Land Rover, EMI, and the BBC. He has run his own advertising photography business since 1992.
Alex's recent honours and awards include being named by Campaign Magazine as its Number One Advertising Photographer of 2009. Other prestigious accolades include The American Photography Annuals 2009 and 2010, Communication Arts Photography Annual 50 and 51, Lurzer's Archive Top 200 Ad Photographers Worldwide 2010, Creative Review Photography Annual and The International Photography Awards.
About Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd.:
Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd., located in the UK, is a European subsidiary of Tokyo-based Astellas Pharma Inc. Astellas is a pharmaceutical company dedicated to improving the health of people around the world through the provision of innovative and reliable pharmaceuticals. The organisation is committed to becoming a global company by combining outstanding R&D and marketing capabilities and continuing to grow in the world pharmaceutical market. Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd. is responsible for 21 affiliate offices located across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, an R&D site and three manufacturing plants. The company employs approximately 3,900 staff across these regions. For more information about Astellas Pharma Europe, please visit http://www.astellas.eu.
1. Gilron I, et al. Neuropathic pain: a practical guide for the clinician. CMAJ 2006;175:265-275.
2. Mallis Gagnon A, et al. Systematic review of the prevalence of neuropathic pain. Eur J Pain 2007;11(Suppl.1):S202-S203 [Abstract No. 457].
3. O'Connor A and Dworkin R. Treatment of neuropathic pain: An overview of recent guidelines. American Journal of Medicine 2009;122:S22-S32
4. Gálvez R et al. Cross-sectional evaluation of patient functioning and health-related quality of life in patients with neuropathic pain under standard care conditions. European Journal of Pain 2007;3:244-55
SOURCE Astellas Pharma Europe Limited