SIP Finland shared this insightful article from a meeting that took place in 2019. Published by Lääkärilehti, the leading Finnish medical journal tailored for medical professionals in Finland. This article is inspired by MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen’s advocacy for a pain programme in Europe, aimed at raising awareness about chronic pain in the workplace. 

Read the translated article here:

“Chronic pain in society spoke to patients, professionals and decision-makers: “Never talk about us without us!”

On November 29, 2019, the inaugural seminar on the Societal Impact of Pain (SIP) operating model took place in Helsinki. This model is also implemented in other European countries. The seminar was organised by Suomen Kipu Ry (Pain Patient Organisation), Tule Ry (Musculoskeletal Health Expert Association), and Suomen Kivuntutkimusyhdistys Ry (the Finnish Association for the Study of Pain – FASP) .

SIP activities are a genuine cooperation between patients and professionals,” remarked Liisa Jutila, from Pain Alliance Europe, the umbrella organisation of European pain patient associations. “The purpose of the activity is to increase society’s awareness and discussion about the effects of chronic pain on individuals, families, working life and society as a whole. We need a change in operating methods, and that is only possible with the right cooperation.”

“Legislators and decision-makers must take into account the massive costs of pain to society and make decisions that will improve the availability and quality of pain treatment and the working opportunities of those with long-term pain,” said Dr. Helena Miranda from Suomen Kivuntutkimusyhdistys Ry.

MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen presented her 10-point programme on reducing the effects of chronic pain at both national and EU levels. Pietikäinen particularly emphasised the importance of increasing awareness among workplaces and supervisors regarding chronic pain. According to Pietikäinen, an European reference centre that would collect information about chronic pain and its effective treatment and that would support methods and cooperation networks between European countries, would be a significant step forward.

During the opening seminar, attendees were treated to expert speeches, gained practical insights, and heard the poignant voice of patients on topics ranging from pediatric and adolescent pain, to strategies for sustaining employment amongst working-age individuals, and the emerging paradigms in rehabilitation.

The prevalence of chronic pain among children and young people is comparable to that of adults, if not more prevalent. However, the resources allocated for treatment are insufficient.” said Minna Ståhl, physiatrist and pediatric pain doctor. “Even in children, pain that has lasted for a long time can often be completely cured, but it requires expertise and a multi-professional team.”

The work on the SIP operation continues and we need funding and auxiliary forces for the operation. We will bring up the issue of pain and approach the decision-makers more actively next year. Next year’s special theme will be the pain of the elderly,” said Marja Kinnunen, from Tule Ry.

Read the full press release in Finnish here. 

Pictures from the event can be found here and here.

The Agenda of the event can be found here.