IASP Task Force Develops New Classification of Chronic Pain for ICD-11

Apr 8, 2015

An upcoming topical review in PAIN highlights IASP’s efforts to address shortcomings in the current version of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) of the World Health Organization (WHO).  The current version includes some diagnostic codes for chronic pain conditions that not only fail to reflect the actual epidemiology of chronic pain but are not appropriately categorized.

According to the topical review, which is scheduled to be published in the June edition of PAIN, “the ICD is the preeminent tool for coding diagnoses and documenting investigations or therapeutic measures within the health-care systems of many countries. In addition, ICD codes are commonly used to report target diseases and comorbidities of participants in clinical research. Consequently, the current lack of adequate coding in the ICD makes the acquisition of accurate epidemiological data related to chronic pain difficult, prevents adequate billing for health-care expenses related to pain treatment, and hinders the development and implementation of new therapies.”

Responding to these shortcomings, an IASP Task Force for the Classification of Chronic Pain has developed a new and pragmatic classification of chronic pain that is germane in primary care and clinical settings for specialized pain management. The hope is to incorporate the new codes in the upcoming 11th revision of the ICD.

The new ICD category for chronic pain comprises the most common clinically relevant disorders, which are divided into seven groups: (1) chronic primary pain, (2) cancer pain, (3) posttraumatic and postsurgical pain, (4) neuropathic pain, (5) headache and orofacial pain, (6) visceral pain, and (7) musculoskeletal pain.

A WHO steering committee will oversee peer review of the revision, which the World Health Assembly will vote on in 2017.