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Pain Rating Scales

Pain is often described as an unpleasant feeling or a feeling of discomfort which denotes that something might be wrong with your body. The human body sends out warning signals to the brain from different body parts. Most people face a difficulty in identifying the exact cause and origin of pain. To get the right treatment, you need to describe the nature of pain and it’s duration. This would ensure that the doctor gets a complete understanding of your general health condition and can then suggest a suitable treatment plan.

Pain scales help you or your doctor to measure or diagnose the pain’s intensity. This would help the doctor to know whether the pain experienced by you is mild, moderate or severe. There are three types of scales that are widely used. They are:

  • Visual
  • Verbal and
  • Numerical

The above three forms are also combined at times to measure the pain.

  • Visual – Visual scales use pictures of human anatomy that help in explaining the exact location of the pain. This helps people to exactly pin-point the origin of the pain trough visuals, which might not be possible otherwise. The Wong-Baker Faces Pain Rating Scale is a popular visual scale. It has facial expressions that are used to denote different degrees of pain. This is very useful for children as it helps them identify and relate to the facial expressions corresponding to the intensity of pain.
  • Verbal – Verbal scales make use of the commonly used words that are used to describe the intensity of pain like low, mild, moderate, severe and so on. This is useful as it focuses on the characteristic
    quality of pain experienced by you. This scale can also be used by your doctor to determine the progress in treatment.
  • Numerical – Numerical scale rates the pain on a scale of 0 to 10. 0 denotes “No pain” and the increase in number denotes the increase in pain. It can also include words or description along with the numbers which would help in determining the intensity of pain.

You could use pain scales at home and also share it with family and friends. This would help in effective communication and diagnosis.

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