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Anesth Analg. 2007 Mar;104(3):703-18.

A primer on health-related quality of life in chronic pain medicine.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesia, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana 46202, USA.



Pain is a complex and individual experience that is often difficult for patients to fully describe using a conventional pain intensity scale. Health-related quality of life is an additional metric by which to assess patients' subjective perspective on their chronic pain experience and its adverse effect on their lives. Health-related quality of life encompasses those aspects of health and well-being valued by patients, specifically, their physical, emotional, and cognitive function, and their ability to participate in meaningful activities within their family, workplace, and community.


A methodical search of the medical literature was undertaken to identify the most commonly applied health-related quality of life measurement instruments. These measurement instruments were then assessed within the context of chronic pain medicine clinical practice and research.


This primer provides an overview of the concept of health-related quality of life as a clinical measurement and the specific means by which to measure health-related quality of life across various cultures in adults, as well as in children and adolescents, suffering from chronic pain conditions.


We have the ability and impetus to routinely assess adult and pediatric health-related quality of life in chronic pain medicine. However, further attention needs to be focused on overcoming barriers to the more widespread measurement of health-related quality of life. A valid preference-based, utility measure of health-related quality of life is a requirement for performing a cost-utility (cost-effectiveness) analysis and undertaking formal decision analysis modeling.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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