Forget Faces and Numerical Scales; New Pain Test on the Way

News test assesses pain on a global scale.

A new pain tool, developed to help pain physicians better interpret the effect pain has on their patients, will be presented at the American Society of Regional Anesthesia’s 2010 Fall Conference.

The Global Pain tool was developed by the research department at Arizona Pain Specialists in conjunction with PainDoctor.com.

According to a press release, the tool reflects the latest in technology and advancements. Dr. Lynch and Dr. McJunkin, founding physicians of Arizona Pain Specialists, have created the tool to replace outdated methods of gathering information, and are confident that the Global Pain Scale will change the way physicians across the world treat pain.

Similar to the way a blood pressure reading provides accurate data to allow for treating a condition, the Global Pain Scale provides accurate data showing both the physiological and psychological effects pain exerts on the body and mind to aid in better treatment outcomes.

Previously, the industry standard of pain-level reporting was a Visual Analog Scale (VAS). Patients would be advised to indicate the illustration that most closely corresponds to how they feel. Ranging from “no pain” to “worst pain possible,” this pain scale can be adapted for all age groups.

In recent history, many physicians have completely abandoned the VAS, and use a Numeric Rating Scale, or NRS. The NRS is obtained by asking the patient how bad their pain is on a one to 10 scale. While the VAS and NRS have been utilized for a number of years, the element of pain has continued to be examined and studied, and it has been determined that in addition to assessment of the physiological aspects of pain, the psychological aspects of pain and pain perception must also be addressed.

The Global Pain Scale is to be used as a brief but thorough screening tool for physicians. The tool should be used when evaluating patients’ basic functioning levels. This tool is then to be used continually to monitor change over time in both acute and chronic pain.

A one page, simple test, the Global Pain Scale assesses not only the physical aspect of pain, but gives physicians information regarding the effects pain has on their patients in four specific categories. These categories include: a numeric rating scale, how pain has affected the patient’s emotional well-being, clinical outcomes, and the effect a patient’s pain has on their activities of daily living (ADLs).

While both the VAS and NRS can only address how the patient currently feels, the Global Pain Scale addresses the effects pain has had on the patients’ lives. While using the Global Pain Scale, physicians will ask the patient a number of questions, which will include inquiries regarding how pain has affected the patient’s relationships with their family and friends, their ability to continue employment or complete chores around their home, and whether their pain has affected the quality of their sleep. This in-depth information looks into the patients’ lives and relationships, and will give the physician an accurate portrayal of how pain affects them on a day-to-day basis.

The Global Pain Scale is available on PainDoctor.com at: Global Pain Scale.

Source: Arizona Pain Specialists--Will you give the new tool a try? Leave a comment.

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