The context of litigation in evaluating physical and psychological outcomes from pain management programmes

Hannah Twiddy, Richard J Brown, Hasan Waheed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There has been extensive research in evaluating chronic pain in the context of litigation while considering the implications that it can have on healthcare outcomes and rehabilitation progress. The aim of this article is to present retrospective observational data about the levels of disability and distress reported by patients with ongoing litigation at the start and following a UK-based multi-disciplinary pain management programme (PMP) when compared with those without litigation.

Between June 2014 and September 2017, 859 patients attended and completed a 16-day PMP at a tertiary-level National Health Service (UK) pain clinic. Patients were split into two groups: (1) litigation (n = 110) and (2) non-litigation (n = 749). As a part of the assessment procedure, the patients were given a battery of psychological and physical measures to complete over two time points.

Patients with litigation are statistically significantly more distressed at assessment but make comparable clinically meaningful change in PMP intervention when compared with a non-litigation sample. A very small proportion of the variance in depression scores post-treatment is accounted for by the context of litigation (0.5%), which may be accounted for by employment status. There was no effect of litigation on physical outcome post-intervention.

This article concludes that it is not appropriate to merely assume that the context of litigation results in limited positive psychological and physical outcomes post-PMP. There are some limitations to the clinical sample presented in respect to the conclusions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204946371882005
JournalBritish journal of pain
Early online date18 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Chronic pain
  • pain management
  • psychology
  • outcomes
  • litigation
  • legal
  • pain management programme
  • self-management


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