I am pleased to announce the 2009–2010 Global Year
Against Musculoskeletal Pain. This IASP-sponsored campaign will
draw attention to the disabling pain experienced by people around the
world suffering from musculoskeletal disorders. Built around the theme
of “When Moving Hurts: Assess, Understand, Take Action,”
this vital initiative calls upon each of us to provide a voice to those
with musculoskeletal pain by:
- Disseminating information about musculoskeletal pain worldwide, with
particular emphasis on developing countries.
- Educating pain researchers as well as health care professionals
globally who see the issues associated with musculoskeletal pain
first-hand in their interactions with patients.
- Increasing awareness of musculoskeletal pain among government
officials, members of the media, and the general public worldwide.
- Encouraging government leaders, research institutions, and other key
decision-makers to support more research, thus producing more effective
and accessible treatment methods and outcomes for people with
Throughout the campaign, which will run through late October 2010,
IASP’s members and chapters will organize meetings, symposia,
patient-education events, publications, and many other efforts exploring
different aspects of musculoskeletal pain. In addition, IASP and its
chapters will sponsor media efforts highlighting some of the challenges
posed by musculoskeletal pain.
I encourage you to get involved in any such activities planned in
your area. Whether you help to plan and organize an event, deliver a
talk related to musculoskeletal pain, or attend a meeting to show your
support, your participation is essential to the success of the Global
Year Against Musculoskeletal Pain. Please contact your local IASP
chapter, or the IASP secretariat office at firstname.lastname@example.org, for
more information on scheduled activities in your area and other ways to
Be sure to visit these Global Year web pages regularly, where you
will find a series of Fact
Sheets focusing on more than 20 topics related to musculoskeletal
pain—furnished in English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Spanish, and
other languages. The fact sheets, campaign posters, and other resources
are available to all at no cost. You can also register to receive Global
Year Updates (via email) with the latest news and campaign
With everyone’s support and active participation, we can do
much to minimize the pain and suffering of those with musculoskeletal
pain. Let’s make it a great year!
G.F. Gebhart, IASP President
Why Musculoskeletal Pain?
IASP decided to focus on musculoskeletal pain because it is an
enormous problem that affects millions of people worldwide. According to
leading pain experts—including IASP Global Year Co-Chairs Dr. Lars
Arendt-Nielsen of the University of Aalborg, Denmark, and Dr. Kathleen
A. Sluka of the University of Iowa, USA—more people around the
world experience musculoskeletal pain than any other type of pain.
The problem of musculoskeletal pain is complex and far-reaching,
encompassing many different types of pain, such as neck pain, limb pain,
low back pain, joint pain, bone pain, and chronic widespread pain, just
to name a few. Yet, despite the wide-ranging conditions and symptoms,
all types of musculoskeletal pain share similar underlying mechanisms,
manifestations, and potential treatments.
Challenges and Issues
IASP has identified several major challenges surrounding
musculoskeletal pain that the Global Year campaign must address,
including the following:
- Treatment for musculoskeletal pain is not adequate.
- At the chronic level, musculoskeletal pain is typically managed, but
- It is often difficult to relate pathophysiological changes to the
patient’s actual pain, which makes musculoskeletal pain especially
challenging to diagnose.
Moreover, even when the source of the musculoskeletal pain is
identifiable, it can still be difficult to link the source and the
severity of the pain, as they do not always match. Although the
patient’s pain is real, you cannot always see it. He or she is in
pain, but the clinician cannot determine why or pinpoint the source.
Beyond the suffering and discomfort associated with musculoskeletal
pain, there are huge financial and other costs, including medical care
expenses, lost work days, and diminished quality and productivity in
patients’ work and personal lives—all of which are fueled by
worldwide trends, including:
- Aging populations
- Sedentary lifestyles
- Increasing incidence of obesity
New Features and Support Materials
IASP is pleased to offer several new features and support materials
for the 2009–2010 Global Year campaign:
- Online discussion forum on musculoskeletal pain studies
- Global Year Event Checklist for chapters and members planning local
- Global Year poster in three sizes, available to download for free
from the IASP website, and to print and display at your local chapter
meetings and Global Year events (also provided in the center of the
- Video interviews (to be posted online) discussing several topics
related to musculoskeletal pain
IASP gratefully acknowledges the following authors of the fact sheets
for the Global Year Against Musculoskeletal Pain. Thanks!
Lars Arendt-Nielsen* (Denmark), Mary F. Barbe (USA), Marie Hoeger
Bement (USA), Nikolai Bogduk (Australia), Michele Curatolo
(Switzerland), Antoon De Laat (Belgium), Steven De Peuter (Belgium),
Mats Djupsjöbacka (Sweden), David T. Felson (USA), César
Fernández-de-las-Peñas (Spain), Robert Gatchel (USA), Steven
Z. George (USA), Thomas Graven-Nielsen (Denmark), Paul Hodges
(Australia), Hans Christian Hoeck (Denmark), Uwe Kersting
(Denmark), Bruce Kidd (UK), Linda Le Resche (USA), Siegfried Mense
(Germany), Tuhina Neogi (USA), Hans Georg Schaible (Germany), Kathleen
A. Sluka* (USA), Roland Staud (USA), Michele Sterling (Australia),
Dennis Turk (USA), Johannes Vlaeyen (Belgium), Harriet M. Wittink
(Netherlands), and M.B. Yunus (USA)
A special thank-you to Maria Adele Giamberardino (Italy) and Roland
M. Staud (USA) for their moderation of the Global
Year Against Musculoskeletal Pain Discussion Forum.
*Global Year Co-Chairs