Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Cleaning out my Inbox: Self Reporting Pain Severity

I've devoted the past several hours to cleaning out my inbox (apparently the majority of the messages regarding my anatomy and my wife’s gratification aren't spam after all - she has been signing me up for those mailing lists - I'll have to remember to ask her about that) and I stumbled across this:


Dear Boudreau,

I know that you’ve been out of state helping your relative remove an unwelcome guest, but I’m emailing this to you anyway.

If you haven’t been subjected to medical care recently, you may not know that nowadays patients often get asked to describe the amount of pain they are feeling by using a number: the 11-point (0 to 10) verbal numeric rating scale (NRS), where 0 is no pain and 10 is really really really ass kicking pain.

Just who in the hell thought this would be a meaningful tool?  Do humans really need a ten point system of pain?  Can you distinguish between a 6 or a 7?  A 3 or a 4?  An 8 or a 9?  Please.

I propose the following alternative.  My system allows patients to report their pain in consistent and practical terms they actually understand.  If you find it suitable, please publish this to your site when you return.

Self Reporting Pain Severity: An Alternative to the NRS That Ordinary Humans Can Understand and Apply

Level 0: No Pain.
Example, “I feel pretty good.”

Level 1: Over the Counter Pain.
Example, “I think I’ll take a couple of aspirin.”

Level 2: Prescription Medication Pain.
Example, “Has it been long enough for me to take another Vicodin?”

Level 3: Stronger Prescription Medication Pain.
Example, “These aren’t doing it. Can I get something stronger? Sevens, maybe? Tens? How about a PCA?”

Level 4: Inarticulate pain.

Example, “Arrrrgghhhh.”

Your friend,


Thank you, S.D., I always enjoy hearing from you.

Your obedient servant,
B. Freret


Boski93 said...

Your friend may be on to something.

Your Humble Reader

B. Freret said...

Or may simply be on something...

Boski93 said...

Maybe a little from column A and a little from column B.

Your Humble Reader