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Papers: 3 Feb 2024 - 9 Feb 2024

2024 Feb 06



Productivity outcomes from chronic pain management interventions in the working age population; a systematic review.


Chowdhury AR, Graham PL, Schofield D, Costa DSJ, Nicholas M


Productivity loss because of chronic pain in the working age population is a widespread concern internationally. Interventions for chronic pain in working age adults might be expected to achieve enhanced productivity in terms of reduced costs of workers’ compensation insurance, reduced disability support, and improved rates of return to work for injured workers. This would require the use of measures of productivity in the evaluation of chronic pain management interventions. The aim of this review was to identify and interpret the productivity outcomes of randomised controlled trials reported by studies that conducted economic evaluations (eg, cost-effectiveness and cost-utility) of chronic pain management interventions in the working age population published from database inception to March 2023. Econlit, Embase, and Pubmed electronic databases were searched, yielding 12 studies that met the selection criteria. All 12 studies used absenteeism to measure productivity, translating return to work measures into indirect costs. Only one study included return to work as a primary outcome. Ten studies found no statistically significant improvements in productivity-related costs. Despite evidence for reduced pain-related disability after pain management interventions, this review suggests that the use of measures for assessing productivity gains is lacking. Including such measures would greatly assist administrators and payers when considering the broader societal benefits of such interventions.