Focused review of interdisciplinary pain rehabilitation programs for chronic pain management

Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2012 Apr;16(2):147-52. doi: 10.1007/s11916-012-0252-4.


Interdisciplinary pain rehabilitation programs (IPRPs) are based on a functional restoration approach to treating complex chronic pain conditions. With a greater appreciation for a biopsychosocial approach to more effectively manage patients with chronic pain has come the development of more comprehensive treatment programs with less of a biomedical emphasis (i.e., interventional therapy, unimodal physical therapy, and passive modalities) and more of a biopsychosocial one. Interdisciplinary programs involve the use of multiple disciplines such as physical and occupational therapy, pain psychology, medical pain management, vocational rehabilitation, relaxation training, and nursing educations. Multiple psychometric tools are used in the assessment process and along treatment to better assess outcomes. This article will examine components of IPRPs, discuss desirable features of successful programs and teams, and more closely review four established outpatient pain programs in the United States. A greater understanding of the unique features and shared values of successful programs will help one better understand how these programs can be more widely used and available. The review will also highlight common psychometric outcomes tools used in assessing patients and monitoring outcomes. Most importantly, the review will help to answer a common question, even among pain physicians: "What goes on in those chronic pain programs?"

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics / administration & dosage*
  • Chronic Pain / nursing
  • Chronic Pain / psychology
  • Chronic Pain / rehabilitation*
  • Chronic Pain / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Occupational Therapy*
  • Patient Care Team*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Psychometrics
  • Rehabilitation, Vocational*
  • Relaxation Therapy*


  • Analgesics