Cover of Multidisciplinary Pain Programs for Chronic Noncancer Pain

Multidisciplinary Pain Programs for Chronic Noncancer Pain

Comparative Effectiveness Technical Briefs, No. 8

Investigators: , MPP, , MBA, PhD, , RN, PhD, and , MD.

Minnesota Evidence-based Practice Center
Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); .
Report No.: 11-EHC064-EF

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.

Prepared for: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services1, Contract No. 290-07-10064-I. Prepared by: Minnesota Evidence-based Practice Center, Minneapolis, MN

Suggested citation:

Jeffery MM, Butler M, Stark A, Kane RL. Multidisciplinary Pain Programs for Chronic Noncancer Pain. Technical Brief No. 8. (Prepared by Minnesota Evidence-based Practice Center under Contract No. 290-07-10064-I.) AHRQ Publication No. 11-EHC064-EF. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. September 2011.

This report is based on research conducted by the Minnesota Evidence-based Practice Center under contract to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Rockville, MD (Contract No. 290-07-10064-I). The findings and conclusions in this document are those of the authors, who are responsible for its content, and do not necessarily represent the views of AHRQ. No statement in this report should be construed as an official position of AHRQ or of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The information in this report is intended to help clinicians, employers, policymakers, and others make informed decisions about the provision of health care services. This report is intended as a reference and not as a substitute for clinical judgment.

This report may be used, in whole or in part, as the basis for the development of clinical practice guidelines and other quality enhancement tools, or as a basis for reimbursement and coverage policies. AHRQ or U.S. Department of Health and Human Services endorsement of such derivative products may not be stated or implied.

None of the investigators have any affiliations or financial involvement that conflict with material presented in this report.


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Bookshelf ID: NBK82511PMID: 22191120