According to the International Association for the Study of Pain, pain is defined as “a sensory and emotional experience, associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage.”
Effective pain management relies on the accurate assessment of patients in pain. Physicians ask the patients questions that lead them to diagnose and then correctly treat the pain:
- What words describe the pain (e.g., sharp, stabbing, throbbing, dull, aching)?
- On a scale of 0–10, with 0 being no pain and 10 being the worst imagineable pain, what is the intensity of the pain?
- Where is the pain?
- What is the duration of the pain? Is it constant or intermittent?
- What aggravates the pain?
- What alleviates the pain?1
1. American Academy of Pain Management. 2011-07-28. URL: http://www.aapainmanage.org/links/Links.php. Accessed: 2011-07-28.