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Going against the pain

Adam Bushby
27 February 2020

Pain has always been and will always be subjective, with one person’s torment being another person’s mild irritant. Whereas one patient may relate the pain they are experiencing as only being ‘severe’ once they are completely debilitated, another may choose this descriptor while sat up in bed, seemingly relatively unaffected. Valid and reliable pain assessment is essential for initiating effective pain management given that objective pain measurement is impossible. Pain scores are one widely used way of assessing pain intensity and attaching a numerical value (Melzack and Katz, 1999). The most common are the visual analogue scale (VAS), verbal rating scale (VRS) and the numerical rating scale (NRS).

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