International Day of People with Disabilities: 3 December

In 1992, the United Nations introduced this International Day of celebration for people living with disabilities to be held on 3 December each year. The theme for this year is “Not all Disabilities are Visible”. The theme focuses on spreading awareness and understanding of disabilities that are not immediately apparent, such as mental illness, chronic pain or fatigue, sight or hearing impairments, diabetes, brain injuries, neurological disorders, learning differences, and cognitive dysfunctions.

Chronic pain is invisible, and individuals with chronic pain can experience huge stigma as a result.

Many individuals with chronic pain find it difficult to be believed and get their symptoms appropriately legitimized and validated. This is deeply concerning given the substantial personal and societal burden associated with chronic pain. For example, The Global Burden of Disease Study 2016 found pain and pain-related diseases, particularly low back pain and migraine, are the leading causes of disability and disease burden globally. Low back pain and migraine are responsible for 57.6 million and 45.1 million years of life lost due to disability, respectively. This means the burden of pain conditions is higher than that due to depression, cancers, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.

In Europe alone, almost one in five individuals or 20% of the adult population report having moderate or severe chronic pain. Chronic pain has been linked to numerous physical and mental conditions and contributes to high health care costs, early retirement, and productivity loss. The European Pain Federation leads The Societal Impact of Pain (SIP), a multi-stakeholder platform to raise awareness of pain and change policies.

If you are an individual health professionals and researchers with an interest in pain, the European Pain Federation invites you to the European Pain Federation Academy. Health professionals and researchers will benefit from a wide variety of professional development benefits, primarily around the subject of pain education. Visit here to become an EFIC Academy Member today!

To access the International Day of People with Disabilities resources, please visit their website here.