The Red Balloon project and cooperation

PAE News


The Red Balloon project campaign has now continued over six months and it’s closer to the next summer’s Charity run at the SIP event in Malta. Social media includes thousands of pictures of people with balloons from all over the Europe.

redbaloon“With the campaign we want Europe wake up and seen the wideness of the chronic pain problems and difficulties it cause at personal and economical levels” says Pain Alliance Vice President Liisa Mikkonen. “From Europeans approximately 20 % suffers chronic pain but still it is invisible. Most of the patient’s think they have a reason stay quietly in shadows; shame, occupation sensitivity, afraid of position at work, family or stigma.”

The Red Balloon project is supported by the Boston Scientific to whom the chronic pain is one of the main aspects. They want to diminish problems related to chronic pain and the negative images of pain patients.

Technical Communications Manager Tim Rae from the Boston Scientific Clonmel factory explains: “Every year The Boston Scientific arranges sites around the world event called ‘Everyone Makes an Impact Day’. During EMAI Day groups of patients are invited to visit Boston Scientific and share their feedback of therapies. Often employees have a possibility meet the patients personally. EMAI days are excellent way to remind ourselves that making active implantable medical devices is a journey we take with our patients from the moment a device concept is born, through product development to manufacturing and implant.

Maintaining the connection between employees and the patients is one of the most important aspects of Boston Scientific’s corporate culture. Not only does it help to keep our employees engaged, but it also is critical to improve the quality of patient care. Events like EMAI Day continually remind us that each person’s job in the company has an impact to many thousands of lives around the world.”

Liisa Jutila, Vice-President of Pain Alliance Europe, agrees: “the patient’s connection to industry is meaningful. The connection with real patients makes a difference when we challenge industries scientific knowledge to be innovative in order to improve existing therapies and create new ones. The main word is cooperation.”

It’s inspiring find out how people want chronic pain to be seen and noticed. Liisa continues, “I was honoured be one of the Boston Scientific patient speakers. But I was even more honoured be invited to join the workers’ evening. People were genuine and real with their thoughts and questions of chronic pain. When they talked with us it was kind of way to their coworkers bring out their own pain and how it affects their work and life overall.”

PAE has put up national organisations to take the challenge. We encourage associations and active people connecting with industry, politicians, decisions makers and other patient associations rise up the problems related to chronic pain, in all aspects of life.

Getting together we are stronger and truly, everyone makes an impact.


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Newsletter PAE  2017 – Welcome!

Dear reader,

Ijoop-van-griensvenn this first newsletter of the year 2017 we would like to give you an update on what PAE and the board has been doing the past period and is planning to do the upcoming months.

Although you would expect that the holiday season would also be applicable for PAE and the board it didn’t feel like that. A lot of things were going on and several preparations / activities should have been started already.

The written declaration was one of it. The Societal Impact of Pain (SIP) Symposium to be held in June in Malta. The progress of the Red Balloon project. The Brain, Mind and Pain interest group. And last but not least our own survey. Then there is the annual general assembly and all the paperwork which is needed for that. More on all these topics you can read in this newsletter.

Discussions and meetings with partners in grant applications.  The preparations for the grant for patient centricity innovations. And off course the never ending story of finding the money for PAE’s activities. Besides that there is always the representation task of PAE in order to get more visibility, more recognition and inn that way more influence.

However we are not complaining  because actually we are very pleased that PAE is doing so well and ask to participate in or join in other activities. We will try to do that as much as possible if the activity is aimed to improve the quality of life of chronic pain patients across Europe. We do keep a wide scoop on that as there are so many areas which can be improved so that the people we are doing this for will get a better life.

But PAE is more as the board only. It are also national associations which are very active on their own national level and trying their best to get the situation improved in their own country. It is good to read about that in this newsletter as well.

We can all learn from each other and see and discuss if some solutions could work in other countries. We should not wait till others come with these ideas. We are creative and skilled enough for ourselves to do so. If we as patient associations set the example that by cooperation one can achieve so much than the other stakeholders will join and work with us, because if we reach our goals it would benefit them in the end as well. It is a win-win situation for everyone.

Enjoy the reading and don’t forget we do appreciate new ideas.

 Joop van Griensven

President PAE

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SIP Symposium 2017, 7-9 June, Malta

PAE News

SIP Symposium 7 – 9 June 2017, Valleta, Malta.

The SIP Symposium will be organised during the Maltese presidency on June 8 and 9. On the 7th of June there will be some pre symposium events such as a workshop on patient advocacy given by GAfPA (Global Alliance for Patient Access) and the closing activity of the Red Balloon project. The SIP Symposium will have 4 workshops on the 8th.

  1. European and national platforms addressing the societal impact of pain
  2. Pain and employment
  3. Pain as a quality indicator for health systems
  4. Existing challenges, models and best practices in pain policy

On the Evening of the 8th there will be the Award ceremony of the “EU civic prize on chronic pain”

On the 9th there will be the two plenary sessions to present the outcomes of the workshops and some keynote presentations on the mentioned topics. Speakers will be high level governmental representatives of  Malta, Italy and Spain and high level representatives of EU institutions.

Find more details on the SIP flyer 2017

 On Friday evening we will have the G.A. of PAE.

 It is important that the members of PAE will attend these workshops and plenary sessions. Don’t let them speak about is with out us.

 As the voice of patients is very important to be included we urge you to register for this event.  If you are a representative to participate in the PAE General Assembly you will benefit of that arrangement.

Registration can be done by following this link;

Register as soon as possible as rooms and places to attend are limited. Read more on the SIP symposium;

There will be pre-symposium and evening activities which could be interesting for you to attend as well.  We do hope to see you all in Malta.

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General Assembly Pain Alliance Europe (PAE)

PAE News

General  Assembly Pain Alliance Europe (PAE)


On June 9th, Friday evening,  PAE will organise its annual General Assembly in at the Grand Hotel Excelsior, Great Siege Road, Valletta, Malta.

All the necessary papers and other details will be send to you as soon as possible but still need some time to be processed according procedures. As usual 1 representative of each association will receive reimbursement for travel and accommodation.

PAE General  Assembly will be mentioned in the program of the SIP symposium. More on that further in this issue. However in order to be able to attend the General Assembly you do need to register for the SIP Symposium. You can do that by following this link;

This in order to guarantee a room for your representative. As rooms are limited they will be given in order of registration.



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New PAE project

PAE News


Pain Alliance Europe will be leading a new project.  We will be organising the creation of a new grant for a project in which patients either have the lead or at least represent a significant involvement. Projects applying for this grant should be aimed at improving the quality of life.

The agreement providing the grant is currently in final negociation phase.

Thought to be a biennial grant, the project will reward every two years an organisation or a person for actions bringing something new, better or innovative in the domain of well being and life quality improvement. PAE will provide the secretarial work and will have the leading role in carrying out the project.

More news about this in the next newsletter… Stay tuned.

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Member News

Red Española de FM, SFC, SQM

On the February 18th, in A Coruña – Galicia-Spain, the Spanish PAE Member Red Española de FM, SFC, SQM will organise an event on the subject of Mindfulness as a tool for coping with chronic pain.mindfulness-red-espagnola

The objective of the conference will be to convey to those present what this tool consists of and how with the practice of it we can get to get the connection mind body so important for the approach and coping of chronic pain.

The event will be moderated and presented by Dr.Viso. Medical Doctor at Hospital San Rafael (A Coruña) and collaborator of Radio Voz radio show “Voces”, who will introduce the guest speaker, Mr. Andrés Gonzalo Íñiguez, Clinical Psicologist.

Mr. Andrés Gonzalo Íñiguez Díaz is sharing already some ideas of what is going to be presented and discussed, here below.

What is mindfulness?

The miracle of mindfulness comes from Vietnamese master Thich Nhat Hanh. This man has been the first master of mindfulness in Europe. The concept of mindfulness or mindfulness originated around the year 2500 BC in the sutras (aphorisms of Hindu and Buddhist traditions).

Mindfulness consists in being fully aware of what happens in the present moment, without prejudice of any kind, or of judging, is something that can be carried out in any situation. It is a breeding ground for the consciousness of the mind and body to learn to live in the here and now. It is a tool that everyone can benefit from it. At present, mindfullnes has already spread in the paradigm of psychology and with time and practice good results are obtained in people who suffer from some physical ailment or some psychic discomfort such as stress, anxiety or depression.

This approach is especially aimed at sensory information and the world in general that surrounds us, offers us a greater understanding of the mental molds (Hernández-Guanir, 2002) or cognitive emotional affective architecture that in case the person carries implicit some maladaptive mold As can be the anticipation aversiva always leads to be in a threatening future. Through mindfullnes it is possible to travel to the present, the only real time existing in the life of the human being. As an example, a person who aversively anticipates that the pain will re-occur in his life is experiencing an important emotional discomfort that prevents him from having a subjective well-being and an optimal quality of life due to cognitively processing an irrational thinking and a Emotion such as anxiety, produced by the catastrophic anticipations and, in case the pain is present this is aggravated. It is extremely important to mention that negative thoughts and maladaptive emotions affect the human being and the biopsychosocial model negatively.




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PAE News

On the 19th January, Joop van Griensven, the president of Pain Alliance Europe, has participated at the headquarters of HOPE – European Hospital and Healthcare Federation, to an event introducing ICT4Life.

logoICTICT4Life is a project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, which brings together actors in the domain of research, innovation and IT development, together with non-profit organisations representing the elderly generation and hospital associations but also universities.

The project aims to  provide new services for integrated care employing user-friendly ICT tools, in order to help patients with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other dementias and their caregivers’ quality of life and autonomy at home.

20170119--President PAEat ICT4LIFE projectJoop van Griensven shares some after-event thoughts: “Such projects, although not specifically aimed to serve chronic pain patients, do have their undoubted value for this category, knowing that unfortunately chonic pain is related to almost all chronical diseases. Technical developments, adjustments to specific targets groups, including chronic pain, and this whole concept of integrated care in which partners with different level of inputs are working together to improve the delivery of health and social services, would definitely benefit the patients we represent.”

Under the agenda of the “ICT4Life approach and contribution to the challenges of integrated care” event, there there have been presentation and discussions about the approach of the organisations involved in the project on integrated care and chronic diseases, but also the technical approach, with a demo of the technologies developed during the first year of the project.

A video introduction of the ICT4Life laboratories, the perspective of patients, care-givers and professionals and how do ICT4Life technologies improve the condition of end-users? – were among the topics of this event.

If you would like to find out more about the next steps of the project ICT4Life , visit ICT4Life website and follow the project updates on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.


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LRG News

Member news

The Galician Rheumatology League (LRG)


liga galega-xmas-toast

In December 2016 we celebrated a Xmas “solidary toast” with members of our League. Hereby a picture of the one in A Coruña


During the act in Coruña we officially started a campaign during which we will sell for 5 euros chocolates with bone shape “for your bones” (sold on

These products finance the health programs of our entity, like: psychological care, occupational therapy and information campaigns throughout Galicia.



Our League was invited for several interviews on television, radio and newspapers, to talk about our activities, about rheumatological and musculoskeletal illnesses and their impact in society.



In January 2 members participated in Budapest in a 2days workshop about biologicals and biosimilars – new pharmacological treatments. This activity was organized by the Agora Platform of Organizations for people with RMDs from the South of Europe. We will organize a workshop about this important item for people living in our country.


In Santiago de Compostela, the capital of our autonomous region, we had a stand during 2 days where we informed about RMDs. The success amongst the audience was so overwhelming, that the local authorities proposed us to open a Delegation in this city.

Taking account of the growing prevalence of RMDs in children, we developed for February a workshop “little superheroes” for parents and children affected by these illnesses.

In February we will assist in Lisbon, Portugal at the Annual Conference of PARE, patients Department of EULAR, European League Against Rheumatism.


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Help us help you – PAE Survey on Chronic Pain

PAE News

Survey on Chronic Pain

A very exciting and useful project is now ready for your participation. PAE has created an internet survey which is available on the website of PAE.

We ask all our member organisations to feature the link for the survey that is in their language on their website.  (If you need advice on which one to use, ask  You can show links for two or more versions if you wish: we have created 16 versions in different European languages.

The power of this survey will increase according to how many answers we get. So we urge you to ask your members and all other chronic pain patients to click through and complete the survey in order to collect as much information as possible.

The results will be put through a careful analysis and we will publish them on our website. We will also provide our members with the relevant data which is in their language, so they can advocate for better options in their own countries. At the European level we will use these results to strengthen our lobbying activities.

If this survey proves successful, we have plans for other surveys on the various topics dealing with chronic pain such as work, insurance, etc.

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The Red Balloon – Project updates

PAE News


RedBlloon-logoThe Red Balloon project, started in May 2016, during the SIP in Brussels, will come to its end during SIP 2017 in Malta. With the help of our Maltese member and delegated members we are trying to organize an event which to generate lots of publicity for chronic pain.

As the first discussions are scheduled to take place during the second half of February, it is a bit difficult to give you any details about it at present. However, we will need your cooperation and ideas for generating publicity.

Let’s all try to conclude this project with as much “noise” as possible, showing our partners that we can generate publicity, that we can organize big events, that we can show the outside world that we can make a difference.  Most of all let’s show to our members that we are working to improve their situation. Right now, by generating publicity – and during the SIP event, by generating more support for our cause.

More details on this will be in the next newsletter.

Help us to achieve this!

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