Chronic Pain Ireland launches ‘Waking Up to Pain’ campaign for Pain Awareness Month

Aug 28, 2023

For immediate release Monday, August 25

Chronic Pain Ireland launches ‘Waking Up to Pain’ campaign for Pain Awareness Month

  • Chronic Pain Ireland today announces a programme of events, webinars and self-management courses during September to mark Pain Awareness Month
  • Up to 1 in 3 adults in Ireland wake up most days with chronic pain, which is pain that persists for more than three months
  • Almost half believe others doubt existence of pain – despite some experiencing symptoms so intense they want to die

Chronic Pain Ireland is today launching its campaign for Pain Awareness Month 2023 with the theme ‘Waking Up to Pain’. Pain Awareness Month is a global campaign to raise awareness of chronic pain during the month of September.

Chronic Pain Ireland will host a series of events and activities throughout September to raise awareness about the challenges faced by people living with chronic pain.

Chronic Pain Ireland is the national charity providing information and support services to people living with chronic pain. It supports those living with chronic pain and their families and works with healthcare professionals, academics, researchers and others interested in chronic pain.

The theme ‘Waking Up to Pain’ expresses the reality for up to 1 in 3 individuals in Ireland of waking up to pain each morning. Some people feel pain throughout the day, every day. Chronic Pain Ireland wants people in Ireland to wake up to the facts of chronic pain, which can affect anyone over their lifetime.

  • Waking up to the prevalence of pain: The University of Galway Prevalence, Impact and Cost of Chronic Pain (PRIME) study estimates up to 1 in 3 adults in Ireland experience chronic pain.
  • Waking up to the economic cost: The societal cost of chronic pain is significant in terms of healthcare costs and lost productivity. The Irish Pain Society estimates that chronic pain costs the Irish economy around €4.7 billion per year, more than 2.5% of GDP.
  • Waking up to the personal cost: Chronic pain has a devastating impact on an individual’s physical, psychological and social well-being. According to The Irish Pain Society, 42% of people living in Ireland with chronic pain think others doubt the existence of their pain even though 21% said their pain was so intense they wanted to die.
  • Waking up to the inadequacy of services: According to figures released by the Irish Pain Society, Ireland has just 27 dedicated pain consultants operating across the public system, meaning that 41% of patients are currently waiting more than 12 months for their first appointment with a chronic pain specialist, while 18% are waiting the same length of time for their first treatment.

Chronic Pain Ireland along with advocacy groups from around the world will raise awareness of chronic pain for the month of September using the hashtag #PainAwarenessMonth.

To become a member of Chronic Pain Ireland, visit

Chair of Chronic Pain Ireland, Martina Phelan, says: “With our campaign for Pain Awareness Month, we hope people will realise the reality of what it’s like for people in Ireland who wake up with chronic pain every day and can’t access the care they need to improve their quality of life and the lives of their loved ones.

“Pain is invisible and people living with chronic pain often tell us they don’t feel believed by family, employers and healthcare professionals. This leaves them feeling isolated and helpless. Chronic Pain Ireland supports our members by letting them know they are not alone, there are people who understand what they are going through and who will provide support and knowledge to help them to improve their quality of life even while they are waiting for access to the healthcare they need.”

Member of Chronic Pain Ireland, Wioletta Misterkiewicz, says: “I have been living in pain for 20 years and one of the most difficult experiences for me is when I feel a doctor does not believe me. Feeling dismissed is so frustrating after waiting a long time and travelling a long distance to a brief appointment. It is so important to feel that your doctor gets it but often they don’t.”

Member of Chronic Pain Ireland, Eamon Kenny, says: “Each person’s experience of pain is unique – no one else can understand what it’s like for me to experience chronic pain. Over time and with support, I’ve come to accept that even if my pain persists, my perception of the pain can shift.”




Media Kit available via

Chronic Pain Ireland (CPI) is the national charity providing information, education and support services to people living with Chronic Pain, their families, friends, caregivers and other interested parties. CPI advocates on their behalf and works closely with all stakeholders while providing a range of supports, including self-management workshops, telephone support line, monthly e-newsletter, patient and public involvement (PPI) research partnerships, member meetings and public awareness events.

CPI receives core funding via the Scheme to Support National Organisations, which is funded by the Government of Ireland through the Department of Rural and Community Development. CPI gratefully acknowledges SSNO funding and the ongoing support of Pobal and the Department of Rural and Community Development under the Programme and Scheme to Support National Organisations (SSNO) 2022-2025. 

Source of statistics: Irish Pain Society presentation at European Pain Federation Congress (EFIC) 2022. The Irish Pain Society, Chapter of the International Association for the Study of Pain, is a non-profit organisation comprising multidisciplinary healthcare professionals and scientists, dedicated to research, and educational and clinical aspects of pain management.

The PRIME study (The Prevalence, Impact and Cost of Chronic Non-Cancer Pain in Ireland in Adults) was conducted by the Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway.



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