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Multidisciplinary Pain Programs for Chronic Noncancer Pain

Technical Brief ARCHIVED Sep 30, 2011
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Archived: This report is greater than 3 years old. Findings may be used for research purposes, but should not be considered current.

Structured Abstract


Chronic noncancer pain affects millions of Americans, seriously impacting their quality of life and costing billions of dollars every year in health care expenditures and lost productivity. There are currently no definitive cures for the most prevalent chronic pain syndromes. Multidisciplinary Pain Programs (MPPs) follow a model of care that emphasizes, when pain cannot be successfully eliminated, managing the pain to the extent that the patient's independence is restored and overall quality of life improved.


The purpose of this report is to describe the literature and identify important issues and gaps in the evidence base assessing MPPs for the treatment of chronic noncancer pain.


A review of the published literature and interviews with key informants were conducted


MPPs have been extensively documented in the standard medical literature. The 183 papers considered in this Technical Brief followed a biopsychosocial model of chronic pain, including treatment components in each of four areas: medical, behavioral, physical reconditioning, and education. Most of the studies were observational before-after designs. Although several different clinical conditions were studied, 90 percent of the studies included chronic back pain, the most frequent condition addressed in the literature. Differences were apparent between studies based in the United States and those in Europe; recent European studies were more likely than U.S. studies to include inpatient delivery of MPP treatment. Declining access to MPP treatment in the United States is highlighted as a key issue faced by those in the community of chronic pain sufferers and researchers.

Project Timeline

Multidisciplinary Pain Programs for Chronic Noncancer Pain

Jul 26, 2010
Topic Initiated
Jul 28, 2010
Sep 30, 2011
Technical Brief Archived
Page last reviewed December 2019
Page originally created November 2017

Internet Citation: Technical Brief: Multidisciplinary Pain Programs for Chronic Noncancer Pain. Content last reviewed December 2019. Effective Health Care Program, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.

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