Chronic pain and stigma across Europe – Pain Alliance Europe at the World Institute of Pain congress 2020

In August 2020, Pain Alliance Europe (PAE) presented its research on chronic pain and stigma across Europe at the World Institute of Pain 10th World Congress.

One in five Europeans suffer from chronic pain.1 Unfortunately, these sufferers don’t just experience its debilitating effects – there is also the associated stigma. As PAE research reports, the stigma associated with chronic pain can have a devastating effect on a person’s life.2


In early 2019, PAE involved its member organisations across Europe in a survey in order to collect information on stigma from patients with chronic pain. The survey was completed by 6,069 people from 19 European countries.2 From the responses to one question, it was found that more than 65% of people (two out of every three people) experience stigmatising reactions or behaviour in their work environment (see figure).3

Response to, 'Have you ever felt any stigmatising reaction or behaviour due to your chronic pain condition from colleagues at work?’ (n=4,289)3

The impact of the associated stigma is that approximately one out of every three people who responded to the survey avoid social situations to protect family or friends from embarrassment.3


PAE and its members will use the results of this research to improve the quality of life for people living with chronic pain in Europe. You can read more about their work here.