Global Year Against Pain

IASP sponsors and promotes the Global Year Against Pain, a yearlong initiative designed to raise international awareness of pain. Each year, IASP focuses on a different aspect of pain that has global implications. The focus for the 2019 campaign is Pain in Vulnerable Populations.

Why focus on pain?

Pain—particularly chronic pain—is a serious problem that reduces millions of people’s quality of life worldwide. As the average lifespan increases, the issues surrounding pain will continue to grow. In developing countries in particular, numerous serious diseases can cause severe pain but often little or no pain relief is available.

Historically, the control of pain has been a relatively neglected area of governmental concern, despite the fact that cost-effective methods of pain control are feasible. 

IASP’s leaders and members believe that raising the profile of pain care and treatment, as well as providing tools, research and education to healthcare providers and others about multidisciplinary pain management will  boost recognition that chronic pain is a critical health concern in need of priority action. Although few people die of pain, millions die in pain—and even more live with pain, often unnecessarily.

How did the Global Year Against Pain evolve?

The European Federation of IASP Chapters (EFIC) first launched the Global Day Against Pain in 2001, thanks to an idea of David Niv, a now-deceased IASP member and EFIC president. The success of this initiative led the IASP Council to develop and adopt a more powerful strategy to increase awareness of pain and the multidisciplinary approaches to reducing and/or alleviating it worldwide.

In 2004, supported by various IASP chapters and federations holding their own local events and activities across the globe, IASP launched its first Global Year Against Pain with the slogan “The Relief of Pain Should be a Human Right.” Subsequent topics included the following:


  • Prevention of Pain (2020-2021)