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Why chronic pain prevention through physical activity deserve more attention?

Some well-known health benefits of regular physical activity include a reduced risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and improved mental health. What is less well-known is that greater levels of physical activity and exercise are also associated with a lower risk of developing chronic pain. By focusing on not only treating but also preventing pain we look at pain from all sides and angles while simultaneously bearing in mind that budget challenges in Europe mean new pressures on healthcare delivery.

What is EFIC on the move?

Launched in 2017 by European Pain Federation EFIC President Bart Morlion, the campaign “EFIC on the Move” raises awareness of the importance of physical activity in preventing primary and secondary pain. A working group chaired by EFIC President Elect Brona Fullen has been working on the scientific and educational content of an international campaign that will run through all of 2019 along with a dedicated event at our 11th EFIC Congress in Valencia.

The campaign’s goals are to ensure that healthcare professionals advise patients about the significant benefits that come with increasing their activity levels in either the prevention or management of pain. Clear guidance to patients is aimed to empower them to become more active. Physical activity doesn’t only prevent pain, but disability in general and its promotion should be a shared effort of several stakeholder within and beyond the healthcare sector.

“What makes you move?” Practicing what we preach

At our 2019 congress, we plan on including an interactive section where physiotherapists, doctors and patients discuss how to better inform and motivate patients on the importance of physical activity. We also want to practice what we preach by staying active during the congress in Valencia and sharing our physical activities with our peers on social media. Increasing one’s own physical activity does not have to be difficult: simply take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk or cycle rather  than taking the car/public transport can start to bring about changes.

In the lead up to the congress we will develop messages and material targeted to HCPs, patient and general public about the importance of physical activity for pain prevention and management and we will engage in different fora to disseminate these messages.