Health-Related Quality of Life in Pain Medicine: A Review of Theory and Practice

  • T. R. Vetter
Reference work entry


 Health-related quality of life (HRQOL) represents a valid means by which to assess the patient's own subjective yet vital perspective on the adverse impact of his or her  pain and its treatment. Routinely assessing HRQOL in adult and pediatric  health care can facilitate patient-physician communication, improve patient/parent satisfaction, identify hidden morbidities, and assist in clinical decision-making. Unique instruments exist to measure HRQOL within and across various cultures in adults as well as in children and adolescents. HRQOL is founded primarily on functionalism and reflects the currently recognized importance of assessing and treating not only the biological but also the psychological and social factors contributing to a patient's  chronic pain condition. The primary HRQOL domains are physical functioning, psychological functioning, social functioning and role activities, and individuals' overall life satisfaction and perceptions of their health status. HRQOL instruments fall into three basic categories: generic measures, condition-specific measures, and preference-based measures, with each category serving a specific pain-related clinical practice and clinical research purpose.  Generic Health-Related Quality of Life measures provide a common metric for comparisons across pain treatments, conditions, or populations, whereas  condition-specific Health-Related Quality of Life measures can identify small baseline differences and incremental changes in the unique and often most relevant aspects of a specific pain condition. Condition-specific HRQOL instruments thus serve as complements to rather than substitutes for generic measures. Further attention needs to be focused on measuring HRQOL in the pediatric setting, as well as in the palliative care and postoperative settings.


Chronic Pain Health Utility Score Pediatric Health Care Generic HRQOL Measure Core Outcome Domain 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

List of Abbreviations:


child health and illness profile


child health questionnaire


Dartmouth primary care cooperative information charts


euro quality of life-5D


headache impact test


health related quality of life


health utilities index


 initiative on methods, measurement, and pain assessment in clinical trials


 item response theory


Nottingham health profile


pediatric quality of life inventory


quality adjusted life year


 quality of life


quality of well-being scale


36-item short-form health survey


short form-6D


sickness impact profile


visual analogue scale


world health organization


World Health Organization Quality of Life Instrument


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