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European Pain Federation EFIC Newsletter – Issue 4 2023

Latest updates on European Pain Federation activities, events and projects


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Dear EFIC Friends and Colleagues,


After writing to you as Editor of our Journal for the last 8 years, this is my first letter as President of our Federation EFIC. I start this adventure in complex times, with the return of military conflict in Europe and the recent outburst of horror in the Middle East entailing suffering and death of thousands of innocent people. As a (moderate) optimist by nature, I believe that catastrophes often contain within them the potential for a better future –so let us hope that this will be the case now. The European solidarity that has emerged from the war is perhaps a harbinger of other good things to come.


Our European Congress #EFIC2023, last September in Budapest, was a success; those of you who were there know that, because you were the key to this achievement. The theme of the Congress was Personalised Pain Management, and in a joint venture with Chief Editor Didier Bouhassira a special issue of the Europeran Journal of Pain (EJP) was prepared under this theme and is freely available to you. I therefore invite you to consult this superb issue of the Journal [7], where you will find a range of articles on personalised approaches to different pain conditions, written by respected specialists in each field. If you are a member of one of the 38 EFIC national chapters, you have free access to all the content of the European Journal of Pain. Simply view the page [8], go to the “Free registration” tab and follow the instructions.


The first part of the exams to obtain the EFIC Diploma on pain (medicine, physiotherapy, psychology) were held in November 2023, and the second part (oral) will be taking place in Leuven, Belgium in 2024.

We are satisfied that the number of candidates is steadily increasing; a crucial question now will be how to articulate EFIC diplomas with the national curricula to become a pain practitioner in the various European countries. The task is far from easy, since the curricula, the mode of access and the level of qualification differ widely from one country to another; however, bridges are being stretched with a number of them, which are adapting their curricula to that of EFIC, and we are confident that this will steadily progress toward a stronger harmonisation in the years to come.


Not only candidates to the exam, but every practitioner working on the field of pain should benefit from the EFIC Virtual Pain Education Summit [9], to be held on 28-29 May 2024. This important educational event is held in years between EFIC congresses, and represents the biggest online event on pain education of the year, with courses modelled specifically on the European Pain Federation EFIC curricula. The Virtual Summit involves over 100 international faculty members, chosen amongst the most respected practitioners in every aspect of pain medicine, physiotherapy, psychology and nursing, with specific tracks for each profession but also inter-professional sessions highlighting the importance of multidisciplinary pain management. The Summit is part of the benefits offered to members of the EFIC Academy [10], and is only available as part of such membership. The Academy offers multiple other advantages, including longterm access to educational contents from the Summit, Webinars and Congress sessions, the possibility to network with colleagues and to foster your career.


Following the launch of the European Commission European Mental Health Strategy [11], and the publication by the EFIC SIP group of a Joint Statement on the link between pain and mental health (here [12]), a SIP-initiated event on Pain and Mental Health was held in the European Parliament on 10 October 2023, hosted by MEPs Marianne Vind and Tomislav Sokol, and attended by a full room of representatives from major European Associations of Neurology, Psychiatry, Cancer and Physiotherapy, together with  Pain Alliance Europe and the Alliance of Mental Health Illness Advocacy Networks. The event, a great success, explored the close relationship between pain, mental health, stigma and (un)employment, and how can all be integrated into mental health policies. See a full report here [13].


In this context, you will not be surprised to learn that the leading theme of the next European Congress, EFIC2025, in Lyon (France), will be “Pain and Mental Health”, and will explore how improving pain goes much beyond ameliorating a somatic sensation, and indeed improves life as a whole. Workshop submission will open in January 2024. Find out more here. [14]


The major EFIC Committees – Research, Education and Advocacy – are working hard in their different domains. The EFIC Pain Research Strategy is on its way: after a recent editorial [15] announcing the main steps already achieved and in development a comprehensive position paper is on its way, which will develop the Strategy based on both expert Committee members and a European survey of over 700 pain researchers and clinicians. Stay updated about the Committees’ work by visiting regularly our EFIC website [16].


The relationships between things are more important than the things themselves. The importance of EFIC efforts lies in their articulation, in the impact that each of them has on the others, and in moving us forward together, toward a better understading, and hence a better alleviation, of pain.


Have a nice end of the year!


Luis Garcia-Larrea

President, European Pain Federation EFIC








Be sure to remember these important #EFIC2025 deadlines:


Workshop Submission Opening: January 2024 Workshop Submission Closing: April 2024 Abstract Submission Opening: May 2024 Abstract Submission Closing: September 2024


Find out more here. [18]






Already missing #EFIC2023? Be sure to watch as our EFIC TV team interviews speakers from #EFIC2023 on a variety of topics. Find out more here. [20]








In this letter, Brona Fullen reflects on her three years as the European Pain Federation President.


_Dear colleagues, _


_I address you today for the final time as President of the European Pain Federation EFIC. To serve as President has been an honour and a privilege, not least as the first Physiotherapist and the first female in this role. As I hand over the baton to Prof. Luis Garcia-Larrea, it is time to reflect on my three years as President, to consider events we have navigated as an organisation, and the achievements we have made over this time.  _


Read the whole letter here [22].






We are thrilled to share an early Christmas present with our European pain community: The EFIC Academy Education Platform organised by the European Pain Federation EFIC is accredited by the European Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (EACCME®) to provide CME activity for medical specialists. Certificates will be implemented shortly and we will provide updates on the process in early 2024.


Additional accreditation approaches are being explored, including for the nursing modules.






After the tremendous success of our EFIC Virtual Pain Education Summit in 2020 and 2021, we are delighted to announce the date for the online pain education event in 2024. If you are a healthcare professional looking to expand your knowledge in the field of pain management in a unique experience, save the date for the next one. Find out more! [25]






The EFIC Annual Report presents financial information for the year preceding the report publication and give insight into recent organisational updates and various projects of the Federation concerning Advocacy, Education, Research, Scientific Congress and relation to Chapters.


Read the 2023 EFIC Annual Report here. [27]






Please find below a farewell from Nevenka Krčevski Škvarč, former EFIC Councillor and Board Member. We are incredibly thankful for all her valuable input and hard work in contributing to the work and activities of the European Pain Federation EFIC.


_My involvement in pain medicine started in the early eighties of the past century and was significantly fostered after my three-month stay in Winston Salem at Bowman Gray’s Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Center with Richard Rauch in 1994. He recommended me for IASP membership, and my window to pain science was widely opened. __The European Pain Federation, EFIC, was founded in 1993 in Paris under the leadership of Prof. Ulf Lindblom, who also served as EFIC President in those early years. Thus, I learned about EFIC immediately after its foundation and took part as an active participant at the first EFIC congress, ‘Pain in Europe,’ in Verona in 1995. _


Keep reading here [29].






We are pleased to publish this Laudation for Prof. Manfred Zimmermann on the occasion of his 90th birthday, written by Hermann Handwerker, EFIC Honorary Member and former EJP Editor-in-Chief. Read more here [31].








The European Pain Federation EFIC is pleased to announce that it will hold a sitting of two of its exams on Friday 15 November 2024. Part 1 of the Examination for the European Diploma in Pain Medicine (EDPM) and the Examination for the European Diploma in Pain Physiotherapy (EDPP) will be held virtually.


The deadline for registration is 15 October 2024. Register here. [33]






We are thrilled to share some fantastic news with you: The European Pain Federation is organising its first in-person Examination for the European Diploma in Pain Nursing (EDPN) in 2024.  Find out more. [35]






CPRS Assist is a free online tool designed by British physiotherapists in collaboration with a respected medical expert for all European physiotherapists who may know a little about Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) but need practical guidance and perhaps don’t have easy access to it. Providing fast access to expert advice CRPS Assist can help clinicians identify patients with CRPS and decide what to do next. Highlighting common pitfalls and practical tips, it also includes a downloadable Budapest diagnostic criteria form.

Find out more. [37]








The EFIC Academy Education Platform [39] is regularly updated with new sessions. The latest topics are:

  • Interprofessional working in chronic pain: Evidence, barriers, and solutions [40] • Educating patients and professionals [41] • Musculoskeletal pain in adolescents [42] • Multidisciplinary female pelvic pain management [43]


This content is for #EFICAcademy members only. Not yet a member? Sign up now [44].








In 2023, one of the key priorities for the Societal Impact of Pain (SIP) Platform has been Digital Health, particularly, the International Classification of Diseases – 11th Revision. Notably, on November 28, 2023, the joint ENVI (Environment, Public Health and Food Safety) and LIBE (Liberties) European Parliament Committees, approved the Report on a Proposal for a Regulation on the European Health Data Space (EHDS), including several SIP Amendments. Detailed information on this development is available here. [46] Additionally, another key priority for SIP in 2023 has been pain and mental health. On this regard, the ENVI Committee voted on November 28, 2023, in favour of the SANT Sub-Committee Report on Mental Health, including multiple SIP Amendments. Detailed information on this milestone is available here. [47]


Health Literacy – Plain Talking Campaign




The Health Literacy Working Group published in September 2023, during the EFIC Budapest Congress, a Booklet entitled ‘The Journey’, a roadmap for treatment, that will be prepare the person living with pain for the experiences they are likely to encounter. Download the booklet here!



On The Move Campaign




The On The Move campaign [51] is currently focusing on its position paper on physical activity targeted at non-physiotherapists, which highlights the importance of why physical activity should be considered as the main treatment option for people living with chronic pain. More news to come shortly!





September started the international #PainAwarenessMonth for Pain Alliance Europe [53]: presence at #EFIC2023 – including SIP events at the Congress, and in-person contributions to partner workshops and meetings by PAE President Deirdre Ryan. Fast forward to October, PAE were heavily involved with the SIP event on Mental Health in the European Parliament on #MentalHealthDay. Mental Health Day was marked by a personal experience reflection provided by PAE Board Member Nadia Malliou available here [54]. You’ll see these and many more updates in the latest PAE newsletter [55]. On 06 November, PAE President was on the panel at the Psychedelic Access and Research European Alliance (PAREA) event at the European Parliament. The position paper regarding psychedelic therapies was launched at the event – read the latest PAREA news on unmet medical needs here [56].








At the beginning of 2023, EFIC kicked off the work on our pain research strategy working with a multidisciplinary steering committee. The pain strategy will serve as a foundation stone for European pain research plans for years to come. The project has now cleared stage 1 (steering committee discussions), stage 2 (literature reviews), and stage 3 (the survey). EFIC has now received input from the European Pain Forum as well as including patient input from Pain Alliance Europe on the survey where these stakeholders had the opportunity suggest new priorities on behalf of their organisations. Now, the steering committee will hold two consensus meetings to finalise the priorities and the Strategy. Find out more here. [58]


Find out more about “Why Europe needs a pain research strategy” in this recently published editorial [59] in the September 2023 issue of the European Journal of Pain.




The Education Study is an ongoing research project by the European Pain Federation EFIC in which the EFIC Education Committee are examining the provision of compulsory pain education and availability of postgraduate pain specialisation options for physicians, physiotherapists, nurses, and psychologists across Europe. The Survey is now completed. Find out more here. [60]




Multimodal treatment is often recommended for many pain conditions.

Despite this, the concept of multimodal treatment remains subject to different interpretations, with no consented definition, and a lack of agreement on the discrete modalities that comprise such treatment across disciplines (e.g. physiotherapy, medicine). The International Society for the Study of Pain (IASP) defines multimodal treatment as “the concurrent use of separate therapeutic interventions with different mechanisms of action within one discipline aimed at different pain mechanisms”. The evidence underpinning the IASP definition is unclear, and a less ambiguous and more clinically relevant definition is needed.

Poor conceptual clarity and the absence of a clinical relevant definition of multimodal treatment undermines the development of a robust evidence base, resulting in inconsistent and inadequate pain policies, pain care delivery, and pain curricula.


In order to tackle the conceptual inconsistency by generating consensus on a definition for multimodal treatment and its discrete elements (i.e., types of modalities), EFIC has created a task force on multimodal pain treatment earlier this year.


Find out more here. [61]






INTERACT-EUROPE is a large multistakeholder project bringing together 33 partners from 17 countries. It aims to develop a European inter-specialty cancer training programme involving all main oncology disciplines and professions, cancer centres and patient groups, based on relevant needs assessments. Read the latest newsletter here [63] to find out more about the project and find out more about EFIC’s role in the project here [64].






The European Journal of Pain (EJP) is a multi-disciplinary, international journal that aims to be a global forum on all aspects of pain research and pain management. Read the latest issue here. [66]


Reasons to publish in the EJP:


* An engaged editorial team offers a smooth submission process and sound peer review

* Have your work associated with EFIC’s core work in education, research, and advocacy in the field

* Get seen in thousands of global institutes and by professionals within EFIC’s 38 chapters

* Attracts authors & readers with its high Impact Factor and volume of open access research








Read about recent news and updates from our 38 national chapters. Read more [68]






Stay up to date with current job and academic opportunities within the world of pain science by checking our page here. [70] If you have a job offer you would like us to promote via our website and social media, please get in touch with






The European Pain Federation EFIC will occasionally share pain research funding opportunities we identify. Usually these will be funding opportunities from the European Commission’s research framework programme. We are happy to receive your suggestions on what to share at . We also encourage you to look at our research collaboration page [72] to understand what role EFIC can play in research consortia.




Pain Alliance Europe at the Scientific Meeting of Algology


Pain Alliance Europe Board Member and Treasurer Nadia Malliou participated in the 15th Scientific Meeting of Algology [73] that was organised by the Hellenic Society of Algology – the Greek Chapter [74] of IASP & EFIC. Nadia presented her speech virtually on the following

topic: ‘Psychological support in the self-management of pain: Is it feasible? And what are the barriers?’


Pain Alliance Europe at the EFIC 2023 Congress


Join Pain Alliance Europe at the thirteenth Congress of the European Pain Federation EFIC on 20 – 22 September 2023 in Budapest, Hungary, with several patient-focused workshops that you can view here [75]. PAE President Deirdre Ryan served on the Scientific Programme Committee to ensure that the patient voice and needs were included in the Congress’

programme, and you can watch Deirdre speak in an EFIC interview about patient involvement here [76]. The theme for #EFIC2023 is ‘Personalised Pain Management: The Future Is Now’.


PAE will welcome you at our Congress booth and will be directly involved in a number of Congress’ events including workshops [77], discussions [78], EFIC TV sessions, and more [79]. We will also participate in the SIP [80] National Platforms meeting that will take place at the Congress on Thursday, 21 September. See you there!


Brain, Mind and Pain Patient-Centred Innovation Grant Update


Learn about the newest updates on the PAE’s Brain, Mind and Pain Patient-Centred Innovation Grant winning project ‘Expert Finder [81]’ from European Alliance for Restless Legs Syndrome (EARLS [82]) here [83].


PAE Involvement in international projects updates – September 2023 and beyond


September marks Pain Awareness Month and it will be a busy time for Pain Alliance Europe. Apart from PAE’s active involvement in the aforementioned EFIC Congress, the busy travel schedule will start with PAE’s participation in the fourth network-wide training on Stigma of Functional Disorders [84] for ETUDE [85] – a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovation Training Network (ITN), which took place from 11 – 15 September 2023 in Florence, Italy. PAE President Deirdre Ryan will deliver a training workshop for the network on the topic. PAE also provided training sessions for the ITN last April, and hosted secondments for two Early Stage Researchers in 2022.


In the last week of September, PAE will take part in the AGORA [86] training course held from 29 to 30 September in Maastricht, the Netherlands, and will be represented by President Deirdre Ryan. AGORA is one of the ERA-NET NEURON [87] networks and the project aims to improve the effectiveness of therapy of chronic neuropathic pain (CNP) and rate of responders in future clinical trials delivering the treatment to targeted subgroups of patients.


Later in the year, QSPainRelief [88] – another EU-funded research project that PAE is involved in – will host a patient information day [89] on 06 December. The project’s goal is to achieve ‘Effective combinational treatment of chronic pain in individual patients by an innovative Quantitative Systems Pharmacology (QSP) pain relief approach’, as the consortium’s full name explains.


PAE is represented by President Deirdre Ryan who serves on the Scientific and Ethical Advisory Board [90] for the project. More details on the event will be circulated closer to the date.


So far this year, PAE has also been participating in applications for the EU HORIZON calls – watch this space for exciting updates soon.






Register to Attend IASP’s 2024 World Congress on Pain in Amsterdam Registration is now open to attend the 2024 World Congress, 5 – 9 August, the largest global gathering of pain professionals. World Congress brings together scientists, clinicians, and healthcare providers from around the world and across pain disciplines. The 2024 meeting will be a special World Congress as we celebrate IASP’s 50th Anniversary. Early Bird Registration Deadline: 1 April [92]


Register for Pre-World Congress Events




Master Classes [93]



SIG Symposia [94]



Hands-On Workshops [95]



Submit Your Poster Abstract to Present at World Congress IASP is accepting poster abstracts to present to more than 6,500 multidisciplinary attendees from more than 100 countries at the 2024 World Congress. Presenting authors can reference their poster presentation on their CV. Submission Deadline: 31 January [96]


Apply for an IASP Special Interest Group (SIG) Poster Award Apply for SIG poster award when you submit your poster abstract to present at 2024 World Congress. Eligibility requirements and application processes vary by SIG [97].


Apply for Financial Aid to Attend World Congress IASP is accepting financial aid applications to attend the 2024 World Congress. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit a poster abstract [98] to present before submitting their financial aid application.

Application Deadline: 31 January [99]






Congres Chronische Pijn [101]

December 18, 2023


London Pain Forum 10th Advances in Pain Medicine Winter Symposium [102] January 14-19, 2024


The 18th World Congress of Anaesthesiologists [103] March 3-7, 2024


32nd European Congress of Psychiatry (EPA) [104] April 6-9, 2024 World congress on osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and musculoskeletal diseases [105] April 11-14, 2024


24th European Congress of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine [106] April 23-27, 2024










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The aims of EFIC are to advance the understanding and knowledge of pain and its treatment, through activities in the fields of education, research and advocacy. You have received this email as you have participated in EFIC’s work or expressed an interest in supporting EFIC’s aims. In this regard, EFIC processes your data in line with its privacy policy. [111]


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