Relationship between health-related quality of life, pain, and functional disability in neuropathic pain patients with failed back surgery syndrome

Value Health. 2010 Jan-Feb;13(1):95-102. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4733.2009.00588.x. Epub 2009 Aug 20.


Objectives: Patients with failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) and chronic neuropathic pain experience levels of health-related quality of life (HRQoL) that are considerably lower than those reported in other areas of chronic pain. The aim of this article was to quantify the extent to which reductions in (leg and back) pain and disability over time translate into improvements in generic HRQoL as measured by the EuroQoL-5D and SF-36 instruments.

Methods: Using data from the multinational Prospective, Randomized, Controlled, Multicenter Study of Patients with Failed Back Surgery Syndrome trial, we explore the relationship between generic HRQoL--assessed using two instruments often used in clinical trials (i.e., the SF-36 and EuroQol-5D)--and disease-specific outcome measures (i.e., Oswestry disability index [ODI], leg and back pain visual analog scale [VAS]) in neuropathic patients with FBSS.

Results: In our sample of 100 FBSS patients, generic HRQoL was moderately associated with ODI (correlation coefficient: -0.462 to -0.638) and mildly associated with leg pain VAS (correlation coefficient: -0.165 to -0.436). The multilevel regression analysis results indicate that functional ability (as measured by the ODI) is significantly associated with HRQoL, regardless of the generic HRQoL instrument used. On the other hand, changes over time in leg pain were significantly associated with changes in the EuroQoL-5D and physical component summary scores, but not with the mental component summary score.

Conclusions: Reduction in leg pain and functional disability is statistically significantly associated with improvements in generic HRQoL. This is the first study to investigate the longitudinal relationship between generic and disease-specific HRQoL of neuropathic pain patients with FBSS, using multinational data.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy
  • Failed Back Surgery Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Failed Back Surgery Syndrome / psychology
  • Failed Back Surgery Syndrome / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuralgia / physiopathology*
  • Neuralgia / psychology
  • Neuralgia / therapy*
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sickness Impact Profile
  • Treatment Outcome