Assessing Disability in the Pain Patient



Assessing disability in the pain patient is often difficult due to both administrative and clinical issues, yet this assessment is essential. Administratively, it is complicated by numerous states, federal, and private systems and policies with different definitions and benefit systems. Clinically, quantifying pain remains problematic as chronic pain is a subjective phenomenon, often associated with confounding behavioral, characterological, personality, and psychological issues. Additionally, the terms impairment and disability are often misunderstood. Furthermore, underlying personality structure and motivation are often determinates for disability. Chronic-pain complaints may be linked with significant disability. Typically, the physician does not define “disability”; rather, the physician defines clinical issues, functional deficits, and, when requested, impairment. Disability is most often an administrative determination.


Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Disability Evaluation Referral Source Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Functional Capacity Evaluation 
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Copyright information

© American Academy of Pain Medicine 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven D. Feinberg
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Christopher R. Brigham
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Feinberg Medical GroupPalo AltoUSA
  2. 2.Stanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA
  3. 3.American Pain SolutionsSan DiegoUSA
  4. 4.Brigham and Associates, IncKailuaUSA
  5. 5.American Medical AssociationChicagoUSA

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