Neuropathic pain arises as a direct consequence of a lesion or disease affecting the somatosensory system. Pharmacological treatments for neuropathic pain often fail despite following guidelines. Interdisciplinary Pain Rehabilitation Programs (IPRP) are an effective intervention for chronic pain conditions. Little research has investigated whether IPRP can benefit patients with chronic neuropathic pain compared to other chronic pain conditions. This study assesses the real-world effects of IPRP on patients with chronic neuropathic pain compared to non-neuropathic patients using Patient-Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) available in the Swedish Quality Registry for Pain Rehabilitation (SQRP).
A neuropathic group of patients (n = 1,654) were identified in two steps. This group was compared to a non-neuropathic group (n = 14,355) composed of common diagnoses (low back pain, fibromyalgia, whiplash associated disorders, and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome) in relation to background variables, three overall outcome variables, and mandatory outcome variables (pain intensity, psychological distress symptoms, activity/participation aspects and health-related quality of life variables). Of these patients 43-44% participated in IPRP.
At assessment, the neuropathic group reported significantly (with small effect sizes (ES)) more physician visits the previous year, older age, shorter pain durations, and less spatial extent of the pain (moderate ES). Moreover, for the 22 mandatory outcome variables, we found only clinically insignificant differences according to ESs between the groups. For patients participating in IPRP, the neuropathic group displayed equal or in some cases slightly superior results compared to the non-neuropathic group.
After assessing the real-world effects of IPRP, this large study found that neuropathic pain patients can benefit from the IPRP intervention. Both registry studies and RCTs are needed to better understand which patients with neuropathic pain are most suitable for IPRP and to what extent special considerations need to be made for these patients within the framework of IPRP.

© 2023. The Author(s).