How to assess a new patient for a multidisciplinary chronic pain rehabilitation program: a review article

Ochsner J. 2014 Spring;14(1):96-100.


Background: Chronic pain is a debilitating condition that affects people all over the world. To effectively treat chronic pain patients, assignment to patient-centered functional restoration and psychological pain rehabilitation programs at an early stage is essential.

Methods: This article describes the initial patient screening and evaluation process for an interdisciplinary chronic pain rehabilitation program and highlights the relevant points that should be covered in each section of the initial assessment.

Results: A thorough, detailed history that includes an evaluation of the patient's pain, functional limitations, prior medications, prior procedures/interventions, substance abuse, and psychiatric disorders, as well as the patient's social, legal, and developmental histories, are key to the proper screening and appropriate treatment of patients with chronic pain.

Conclusion: Thorough initial evaluation of patients is essential for proper enrollment in a chronic pain rehabilitation program. Such programs allow early treatment and reduce unnecessary health costs. Future prospective studies are needed to identify additional screening methods and triage tools to allow early admission of appropriate patients to these rehabilitation programs.

Keywords: Chronic pain; history taking; pain management; rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Review