CPI (formerly Irish Chronic Pain Association) was founded in 1992 and since then has advocated strongly for better awareness, education and recognition of chronic pain.  CPI has demonstrated professional leadership in Ireland and throughout Europe by drawing attention to Chronic Pain and promoting new and better methods of dealing with the disease.


The Irish Chronic Pain Association was founded in 1992 by a Consultant in Pain Medicine and a small group of his patients. The name was changed in 2009 to Chronic Pain Ireland (CPI).  CPI is a registered charity and is run by a committee of volunteers. The principle aim of the organisation is to provide information and support to those living with chronic pain, their families, caregivers and friends. In addition CPI campaigns for greater education and understanding within the medical profession and the public of the condition. CPI is a member of the Neurological Alliance of Ireland, Irish Platform for Patient Organisations, Science and Industry, Carmichael, The Wheel and is also a member of Pain Alliance Europe.

Like most small charities CPI grew very slowly in its early years. However it should be borne in mind that awareness and understanding of chronic pain 29 years ago was almost close to zero except among healthcare professionals involved in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic pain and obviously among those suffering with this most complex medical condition.  While there is a greater understanding and awareness of the condition today it is still a problem among some healthcare professionals.

Many previous Chairpersons and Governing Body members contributed to the growth and good reputation of CPI as a patient support organisation.  Up to 2007 CPI relied on its own fundraising and also received some funding from a pharmaceutical company.  In 2008 CPI applied for funding to the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government and was successful in securing three year funding to cover core costs. That enabled the organisation to recruit a part time National Coordinator, who is still with the organisation today.  CPI gratefully acknowledges the Scheme to Support National Organisations is funded by the Government of Ireland through the Department of Rural and Community Development 2019-2022.

The most important work carried out by CPI is the workshops on self management which are held Nationwide. The receipt of state funding coupled with increased support from the pharmaceutical and medical device sectors enabled the organisation to expand its workshops and reach out to approximately 500 people with chronic pain each year.  The Governing Body of CPI was strengthened by bringing on board people with specific skills. As a result CPI quickly became recognised as an excellent support organisation and its reputation as a first class patient support group extended right across Europe.

CPI was involved in the setting up of Pain Alliance Europe and was also involved in the first Societal Impact of Pain Symposium (SIP) held in Brussels in 2010 and has been active in subsequent symposia each year ever since. Various CPI Chairperson's have advocated throughout the years addressing the European Parliament, MEP's, TD's, Oireachtas Committee on Health & Children, Department of Health and much more. 

CPI for many years campaigned to have Pain Medicine recognised as a medical specialty and in 2012 supported the Faculty of Pain Medicine, College of Anaesthetists Ireland, in its application to the Medical Council for such recognition. In June 2014 the then Minister for Health, on the recommendation of the Irish Medical Council, signed into law Pain Medicine as a medical specialty. CPI has also campaigned to have Chronic Pain recognised as a disease in its own right and thanks to the trojan work of Prof. Dr, Rolf- Detlef  Treede and his team, chronic pain classified as a disease in June 2018 when the International Classification of Diseases (ICD 11) was published.

CPI continues to grow and is providing much needed support for people living with the condition.

13% of the Irish Population is living with Chronic Pain.  European Average 19%.  Of the 13%, one in five (20%) suffer from moderate to severe Chronic Pain. (Brevic  H. et al 2006).

One in three respondents in the PRIME Study ( McGuire B et al 2010) indicated that they were living with Chronic Pain.

29% of people with Chronic Pain cannot work because of their condition.

42% of people with Chronic Pain think that others doubt the existence of their pain.

21% stated that the pain was so intense they wanted to die.

In the PRIME study 2% of those without chronic pain reported clinically significant levels of depression. However in chronic pain sufferers this rose to 15%.

The average cost to the economy is €5,665 per person per annum. However at the severe level it is €10, 454 per person per annum.
(McGuire B et al NUIG 2010)

Chronic Pain costs the Irish economy 2.55% of GDP (€4.76b per annum)
(Prof. Charles Normand TCD 2010).


Irish Enterprise Awards 2021 - Best Chronic Pain Management Advisory Service.

Brain, Mind Pain Grant 2019-2020 - awarded to V. Vasiliou, School Applied Psychology UCC in partnership with Chronic Pain Ireland, ASPida project.

Irish Healthcare Awards 2017 - Best Patient Education Project of the Year "My Pain Feels Like".

Carmichael - Good Governance Awards 2017 - Joint Runner up of Category 1.

Irish Healthcare Awards 2011 - Best Patient Educational Project - Can you Feel my Pain? Campaign.

Irish Medical Times 2010 Best Educational Project - General Practice/Pharmacy - Reeling in the Pain.