The economic impact of chronic pain in adolescence: methodological considerations and a preliminary costs-of-illness study

Pain. 2005 Dec 15;119(1-3):183-190. doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2005.09.028. Epub 2005 Nov 16.


Chronic pain in adulthood is one of the most costly conditions in modern western society. However, very little is known about the costs of chronic pain in adolescence. This preliminary study explored methods for collecting economic-related data for this population and estimated the cost-of-illness of adolescent chronic pain in the United Kingdom. The client service receipt inventory was specifically adapted for use with parents of adolescent chronic pain patients to collect economic-related data (CSRI-Pain). This method was compared and discussed in relation to other widely used methods. The CSRI-Pain was sent to 52 families of adolescents with chronic pain to complete as a self-report retrospective questionnaire. These data were linked with unit costs to estimate the total care cost package for each family. The economic impact of adolescent chronic pain was found to be high. The mean cost per adolescent experiencing chronic pain was approximately 8,000 pounds per year, including direct and indirect costs. The adolescents attending a specialised pain management unit, who had predominantly non-inflammatory pain, accrued significantly higher costs, than those attending rheumatology outpatient clinics, who had mostly inflammatory diagnoses. Extrapolating the mean total cost to estimated UK prevalence data of adolescent chronic pain demonstrates a cost-of-illness to UK society of approximately 3,840 million pounds in one year. The implications of the study are discussed.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Health Services / economics*
  • Adolescent Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pain / diagnosis
  • Pain / economics*
  • Pain / epidemiology*
  • Pain Management
  • Pain Measurement / methods*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology