How Does Treating Chronic Pain Patients Impact Provider Burnout?

About the autor

According to the American Medical Association (2022), burnout among healthcare providers is at an all-time high, with nearly 63% of physicians reporting signs of burnout. For Advanced Practice Providers (APPs), this number hovers between 30% and 50%. While research shows that burnout impacts healthcare providers in all areas of healthcare, there is a significant increase in burnout prevalence among providers who treat chronic pain (Hyman, et al., 2021).

Treating chronic pain can have a significant impact on provider burnout, leading to physical and emotional exhaustion, mental health issues, a lack of empathy in caring for patients, and a decreased sense of professional achievement (AMA, 2022). Chronic pain conditions often require ongoing management and complex treatment plans, which can be emotionally and physically demanding for providers. Here are a few factors that contribute to the impact on chronic pain provider burnout:

  • Time and workload: Managing chronic pain often involves frequent appointments, follow-ups, and coordination with other healthcare professionals. This can result in heavy workloads and limited time for self-care or other patients, leading to increased stress and exhaustion. OPOS reduces this workload by providing a platform for shared medical appointments, also known as group appointments, allowing a provider to see 25 or more patients at one time using our telemedicine services.
  • Complex patient needs: Patients with chronic pain may have comorbidities, mental health issues, or require multidisciplinary approaches for effective pain management. Treating these complex needs can be challenging and may require more resources and expertise, adding to the burden on providers. OPOS’ team of Stanford and Vanderbilt trained pain medicine physicians partner with physicians and APPs to provide the expertise necessary to care for these patients while mitigating risk associated with regulatory compliance.
  • Emotional toll: Chronic pain patients often experience significant suffering, which can be emotionally draining for healthcare providers. Witnessing the impact of chronic pain on patients’ lives, the challenges they face, and the limited treatment options available can contribute to feelings of frustration and helplessness.
  • Medication concerns: Managing chronic pain often involves prescribing medications, such as opioids, which require careful monitoring and risk assessment. The opioid epidemic and increasing regulatory scrutiny have placed additional responsibilities and concerns on physicians, leading to added stress and burnout. OPOS utilizes remote therapeutic monitoring (RTM) to evaluate the state-based electronic database of controlled substances for your patients, review self-reported psychometric surveys that meet regulatory criteria for opioid prescribing and patient documentation, and assess the potential for aberrant behavior.

To mitigate the impact on provider burnout, it’s essential to implement strategies like improved support systems, interdisciplinary care teams, effective pain management guidelines, and opportunities for self-care and professional development. OPOS delivers programs that foster a collaborative and empathetic healthcare environment for providers that can help alleviate the burnout associated with treating chronic pain. OPOS brings the resources and expertise with financial results to deliver maximal outcomes for primary care and pain specialists.


Hyman SA, Card EB, De Leon-Casasola O, et al. Prevalence of burnout and its relationship to health status and social support in more than 1000 subspecialty anesthesiologists. Regional Anesthesia & Pain Medicine 2021; 46:381-387

The American Medical Association. What is physician burnout? Available at Accessed May 24, 2023.