Making Visible the Invisible on Headache Pain: sharing successful experiences across Europe

Making Visible the Invisible on Headache Pain





Active Citizenship Network, in partnership with the European Headache Alliance (EHA), is organizing in the European Parliament on January 24 from 10:00 to 12:00 the meeting titled:

“Making Visible the Invisible on Headache Pain: sharing successful experiences across Europe”

It will be hosted by the MEP Sofia Ribeiro in the framework of the MEPs Interest Group “European Patients’ Rights & Cross-Border Healthcare” .

The initiative consists in selecting good practices and sharing them thanks to a European event focused on migraine and headache pain, taking into account the important innovations in the field of fight against pain.

The "Charter of headache patients’ rights" dates back to the early 2000's, and it was written following the suggestions of the International Headache Society and the platform - established by Active Citizenship Network - that drafted the European Charter of Patients' Rights in 2002.

Since then, what has been improved for headache patients? What are the best practices in medical practice? To what extent the commitment of the European Institutions in the fight against pain can help in improving the condition of headaches patients? Among the rights listed in the "Charter of headache patients’ rights ", what are the less respected? What recommendations, resulting from the collaboration between experienced patients and professionals, can be addressed to policy makers and relevant stakeholders?

Headache & Chronic pain
Many of chronic pain patients suffer from one of the 17 types of headaches. Indeed, headache affects 12% of the world's population, 41 million people in Europe, 6 million people only in Italy, 2/3 of whom are women.
Headache is defined as a pain arising from the head or upper neck of the body. The pain originates from the tissues and structures that surround the skull or the brain because the brain itself has no nerves that give rise to the sensation of pain (pain fibers). The thin layer of tissue (periosteum) that surrounds bones, muscles that encase the skull, sinuses, eyes, and ears, as well as thin tissues that cover the surface of the brain and spinal cord (meninges), arteries, veins, and nerves, all can become inflamed or irritated and cause headache. The pain may be a dull ache, sharp, throbbing, constant, intermittent, mild, or intense.

Objective of the initiative
In line with its multi annual commitment on chronic pain, and taken into account the recent political achievement at EU level on the topic, Active Citizenship Network with this initiative intends:

  • to explore recent achievements and good practices across Europe, also outside EU Member States, on the management of some primary headaches, in particular migraine and cluster headaches.
  • to demonstrate what this community can offer in terms of raise awareness about the phenomenon, enhance the body of knowledge of positive cases and success, and strengthen commitment to this topic.
  • to promote a first civic assessment on the management on headache pain, it means an assessment that starts from a citizens and patients perspective.

Immediately after the Conclusions of the Council of the European Union, the initiative, focused on headache, testifies a concrete example to transfer the recent achievement on chronic pain from the European political agenda to the EU culture, and so it can be considered extremely in line with the goals of the EU Institutions and the constituency on pain across Europe.


*Registration is mandatory

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