BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Chronic pain affects many adults. To improve our daily practice, we need to understand multidisciplinary approaches, integrated treatment plans and the biopsychosocial context of these patients. To date, almost 15 000 chronic pain patients have been referred to the Maastricht University Pain Center in the Netherlands.
METHODS: This study describes 11 214 of these patients suffering from chronic pain. Chronic pain was analyzed using relevant Initiative on Methods, Measurement, and Pain Assessment in Clinical Trials instruments.
RESULTS: Most patients were female (59.3%). The prevalence of low education was 59%, and unemployment/disability was 35.9%. The mean age was 55.6 years. Severe pain (Numerical Rating Sale score 7-10) was reported by 71.9% of the patients; psychological and quality of life values deteriorated when pain severity increased. Approximately 36% of patients showed severe signs of depression or anxiety, and 39% displayed high pain catastrophizing. Of all patients, 17.8% reported high values for pain severity, catastrophizing and anxiety or depression.
CONCLUSIONS: Based on baseline biopsychosocial values, this study shows the complexity of patients referred to pain centers. Pain management with a biopsychosocial approach in an integrated multidisciplinary setting is indispensable. Above all, adjusted education on chronic pain and attention to its biopsychosocial aspects are deemed necessary.