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Assessing Pain

How to Assess Pain

When doctors are trying to tell how a patient is feeling, they will often use the McGill pain questionnaire in order to best assess pain. It is so important for medical professionals to understand how to best help patients to manage pain and to avoid doing any more damage to the patients. Pain has been recognized by many as being the fifth vital sign, so being able to use tools like the WHO pain ladder is very important.

Assessing Pain

In order to use the pain questionnaire, patients will first choose a word that best describes the intensity of their pain, and one to two words from the rest of the categories. By the time the patients have filled out the entire questionnaire, they will have chosen a maximum of seven words to describe the type of pain that they are feeling. These words include things like throbbing, burning, pricking, tugging, wrenching and more. This helps medical professionals to understand how much pain a patient is in as well as what kind of pain they are feeling.

The ladder pain assessment option was developed for those who have cancer. Those who have cancer should first be given something basic like a nonopiod, and then start moving forward up the ladder as the pain continues. Mild opiods are the next step up, and they should be administered every three to six hours. Other drugs for things like anxiety and for extreme pain should be given as they are needed. This approach is often considered to be one of the most cost effective, and it can be extremely effective in treatment of pain as well.

The multidimensional pain inventory is another way that patients can self report the pain that they are feeling, as well as get some other types of information about the patient. It starts by asking who the significant other of the patient is, whether that is a romantic partner or a family member. Then it goes on to ask more about the pain levels, and how they impact this patients life from day to day. It also asks about the current level of pain that the patient is experiencing at that moment. Then, it goes onto ask about the significant other is impacted by the pain that the patient is experiencing. There are several other ways that patients can self report their pain, and these are all important ways to start learning more about what can best be done for each patient.

About Chronic Pain