Help us build public awareness

With a lack of public awareness of the condition, many people may not realise their persistent lower back pain could be axial SpA. We have created a selection of resources to help you raise awareness of axial SpA in your local healthcare setting and across your community.

Explore key publications

Axial SpA and the general public

Axial SpA is an inflammatory disease of the spine and joints. Inflammation where muscles attach to the bones causes extreme pain. If left untreated, it can permanently fuse bones together. It’s an invisible and misdiagnosed condition. Often leaving people feeling powerless, in increasing pain and extreme exhaustion. 

Right now, it takes an average of 8.5 years for someone to receive a diagnosis of axial SpA. In June 2021, we launched our implementation plan Act on Axial SpA: A Gold Standard Time to Diagnosis, which outlines the steps we are taking to establish a Gold Standard time to diagnosis of just one year. Read the full plan here. 

In 2021, our research found that 91% of the UK population had never heard of axial SpA8 in 10 people could not identify the symptoms and only 4 in 10 would speak to their GP if they had symptoms. It was clear from these results that raising public awareness around the signs and symptoms of axial SpA would be a crucial piece of the puzzle when working to reduce the time from symptom onset to diagnosis.

As a healthcare professional, how can I help raise public awareness?

There are lots of ways you can help. 

We have created postersvideos and other resources you can print out and use to increase awareness in your community. Access everything you need here:

Download posters by clicking on the images below:

Alternatively, you can email clareclark@nass.co.uk and order copies that we will print and deliver straight to you.

Use our campaign videos in your presentations about axial SpA:

We worked with members of our community and comedians to shed light on the realities of life with axial SpA. These videos use humour to explain the issues of delayed diagnosis and ongoing, undiagnosed symptoms of axial SpA.
Use these videos as a light-hearted way to explain two major issues in axial SpA diagnosis and care:

Include patient stories in your presentations about axial SpA:

The stars of our campaign videos took time out after filming to speak to the comedians about their experiences with axial SpA. 
Why not use these videos to weave the patients perspective into your work?

Learn more about our service improvement work:

Together, with healthcare professionals, we are going to drive down diagnosis times and catalyse improvements in axial SpA care. 
Dr Antoni Chan, rheumatologist at Royal Berkshire Hospital, joined NASS CEO Dr Dale Webb to discuss the problems being faced by healthcare professionals and the work NASS is doing to influence change and support improvements in axial SpA services. 
Why not use this video in your presentation to inspire colleagues?

Request a QR code for our symptom checker:

Send your patients straight to our axial SpA symptom checker by requesting a QR code to put on your posters. 

The symptom checker was created using validated criteria*.  

It walks patients through a series of questions before determining whether they may have axial SpA. If the results are positive, patients will be provided with a printable information leaflet to take to their GP. 

Symptom Checker QR Code

Request a QR code by emailing: commsteam@nass.co.uk

* 1. Sieper J, van der Heijde D, Landewe R, Brandt J, Burgos-Vagas R, Collantes-Estevez E, et al. New criteria for inflammatory back pain in patients with chronic back pain: a real patient exercise by experts from the Assessment of SpondyloArthritis international Society (ASAS). Annals of the rheumatic diseases. 2009;68(6):784-8.
2. Rudwaleit M, Metter A, Listing J, Sieper J, Braun J. Inflammatory back pain in ankylosing spondylitis: a reassessment of the clinical history for application as classification and diagnostic criteria. Arthritis Rheum. 2006;54(2):569-78.
3. Calin A, Porta J, Fries JF, Schurman DJ. Clinical history as a screening test for ankylosing spondylitis. JAMA. 1977;237(24):2613-4.

Send us your feedback:

We’d love to know if these resources were helpful, or if there are any other promotional materials that you would find useful. 

Let us know! 

Send your feedback to: commsteam@nass.co.uk

Want to find out more?

Read our first Act on axial SpA impact report

Interested in our work to drive down diagnostic delay. Then click the button below and download a copy of our first impact report.

The report details the key results from the programme in its first 16 months, detailing how NASS has built a burning platform for driving down the diagnosis time of axial SpA, influenced politicians and key decision makers and increased awareness of the condition among the general public and health care professionals. 

Symptoms starting slowly

Pain in the lower back

Improves with movement

Night time waking

Early onset (under 40)