Vlaamse Pijn Liga
President: Theo Verbeke
Vice President: Leon Verwimp
Secretary: Johan Tourné
Member: Pieter Herwege
Member: Marc Du Bois
The ‘Vlaamse Pijnliga’ (Flemish Pain League) is an umbrella organisation that brings together organisations that are concerned about pain in Flanders. It is made up of a growing number of concerned patients’ organisations “(such as MCP, Ruggensteun vzw, ‘t Lichtpuntje, VMCP, Whiplash vzw, Belgische hoofdpijnliga, CVS Contactgroep, CMP, Vlaamse Vereniging voor Erfelijke Bindweefselaandoeningen, de Maretak) in close co-operation with Ziekenzorg CM. In 2012 the league celebrates its 10th birthday.
The common goal of the Vlaamse Pijnliga and its members is to improve the quality of life of people who suffer from chronic pain and their relatives. To achieve this, the Vlaamse Pijnliga concentrates on 5 key issues.
1. Contact between chronic pain patients
Living with chronic pain is a difficult and challenging task. Talking about it can help. The Vlaamse Pijnliga aims to contribute in two ways. Within the member organisations, group meetings organised for people with chronic pain are a central activity. The Vlaamse Pijnliga offers support and inspiration to continue these contacts and organises exchange between the different organisations.
Good and accessible information is very important for people with chronic pain. It is a first step towards managing it. During meetings, the patients’ organisations inform their members about different aspects of living with chronic pain. The Vlaamse Pijnliga publishes an information newsletter in order to support that process of informing by the member organisations. Furthermore, the monthly magazine ‘Prikkel’ contains specific information for and life stories of people with chronic pain.
3. Lobby work
Living with chronic pain means living with limitations of many sorts. Often these include financial limitations due to a cutback in income and high medical costs. The league tries to monitor this situation closely and aims to lobby for an increased substitute income linked to the national level of prosperity. The Vlaamse Pijnliga also wishes to defend the interests of people with chronic pain on other issues, such as modified employment possibilities, ‘availability of tools’, … and wants to act as the voice of all pain patients in Flanders.
4. The best possible treatment for pain patients
Recent research shows that many pain patients don’t always benefit from the received pain treatment. The Vlaamse Pijnliga aims –in dialogue with doctors and paramedics- for treatments that are more satisfactory for the patients. Multidisciplinary treatment has to be encouraged. The role of the general practitioner is central. Trust and confidence are key conditions.
5. Attention for pain
Pain is often invisible. Because of the social ignorance, people are not able to assess the consequences of living with pain. As a result, persons with chronic pain often get isolated. The Vlaamse Pijnliga has the important task to inform society about pain and its consequences. The league supports initiatives that aim to inform the broad public in Flanders or prevent chronic pain.
The importance of the European policy level, also in the field of healthcare, is rising every day. We urgently need a voice for people living with chronic pain on this policy level. This is why the Vlaamse Pijnliga thinks it’s so important to be part of ‘Pain Alliance Europe’. Moreover, PAE can become an important platform for the exchange of ideas and experiences amongst organizations for people living with chronic pain from different member states.