EFIC on the Move

‘If physical activity was a drug it would be classed as a wonder drug (Professor Dame Sue Bailey, Chair of the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges, 2015)’

Our president Bart Morlion has launched the idea of a presidential campaign, that will run across the three-year mandate of each President.The theme for 2017-2020 is ‘EFIC On the Move’ focusing on the importance of physical activity in preventing primary and secondary pain. In June we had a first working lunch with few members of the European Parliament, kindly hosted by the MEPs Hilde Vautmans and Ms Lieve Wierinck, to gather their support and discuss ideas for the campaign.In the next months we will focus on social media activities to promote the importance of physical activity to prevent pain chronification. A Working Group, chaired by Dr Brona Fullen, has been created to start working on the scientific and educational content of the campaign, that will be disseminated in 2019 and during a dedicated event at our biennial Congress in Valencia.


Physical activity´s well known health benefits 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. Chronic pain is defined as pain on a daily basis for 12 weeks. It is a significant health issue affecting between 12-30% Europeans (23% of Belgians).The cost to the economy is enormous in terms of healthcare costs and lost productivity (2.2% of GDP in Germany, 2.8% in Ireland and 1.7% in the Netherlands). There is also a significant personal cost in terms of physical disability, anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance and poor quality of life.
Physical activity and pain : few fact

Physical activity:

  • Reduces a person’s chance of developing low back pain by 40%.
  • Reduces a person’s chance of developing osteoarthritis by 50% (e.g. hip and knees).
  • Increased frequency, duration, and intensity of exercise are associated with less chronic pain when age,education, and smoking are taken into account.
  • Reduces the chance amongst 20-64 year olds of developing chronic pain by 10-12% compared with those
    who don’t exercise.
  • In older women it reduces the chance of developing chronic pain by 21–38% compared with those who are
    not exercising.
  • Older people who exercise more regularly, for longer and at a higher intensity are less likely to develop
    chronic pain.
  • People in working age who exercise 3-5 times a week are also less likely to develop chronic pain.

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