Quantifying Pain Effectively

There are a multitude of methods to measure a patient’s pain level. Most use a sliding scale to quantify one’s pain from 0 (no pain) to 10 (the worse imaginable pain).

Top ten types of pain scales:

  • 1 – 10 pain scales
  • Faces pain scales, typically the Wong-Baker FACES® pain rating scale
  • Global pain scale
  • Visual analog pain scale
  • McGill pain scale
  • Mankoski pain scale
  • Color scales for pain
  • Pediatric pain scales
  • CPOT pain scale
  • Patient-created personalized pain scales

Of the above-mentioned pain scales, the most often used include a visual of facial expressions (such as, the Wong-Baker FACES) in which patients point to a face that depicts their degree of discomfort.

Although these pain scales are relatively effective, they are subjective in that they rely on a patient’s perception of pain, with the resulting built-in flaws. In other words, one person’s pain level of “5” is different from another person’s perception of what a pain level of “5” may be.

Researchers are now working on a prototype for a blood test that could measure the severity of pain without the subjective nature of patient self-reporting or physicians relying on clinical observations of the pain a patient may be experiencing.

New research indicates that there are identifiable biomarkers in a patient’s blood to objectively determine how severe a person’s pain level is. A biomarker is basically a measurable substance in an organism that indicates a specific phenomenon. The biomarkers in this case help researchers identify compounds in blood to quantify pain intensity. Thus, a more accurate and effective pain treatment regimen could be initiated.

Much of the present opioid epidemic/crisis has been contributed to the over-prescribing of addictive medications, without the close monitoring of when to discontinue pain meds in a timely manner. As a patient begins to experience less pain, less addictive pain medication options could be substituted with equal pain-relief effectiveness. Biomarkers could identify when that appropriate time is.

Study experts are discovering also that biomarkers in blood can objectively direct researchers to match a patient’s current pain experience with specific analgesic drugs to control pain.

Treating pain more effectively without using strong, addictive medications or decreasing the use of addictive drugs when pain is beginning to recede will be a medical breakthrough. Treating pain intelligently with the right medication at the right time could provide a much-needed change from the current overuse of opioid medications and lessen the potential of drug addiction.

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!

About James J. Murray, Fiction Writer

With experience in both pharmaceutical manufacturing and clinical patient management, medications and their impact on one’s quality of life have been my expertise. My secret passion of murder and mayhem, however, is a whole other matter. I’ve always loved reading murder mysteries and thrillers, and longed to weave such tales of my own. Drawing on my clinical expertise as a pharmacist and my infatuation with the lethal effects of drugs, my tales of murder, mayhem and medicine will have you looking over your shoulder and suspicious of anything in your medicine cabinet.
This entry was posted in About James J. Murray, About Medications/Pharmacy, Alternative to Botanicals for Painkiller Drug Manufacturing, Alternatives to Opiate Painkillers, Blog Writers, Blogging, Controlling Drug Costs, Death From Prescription Painkillers, Drug Abuse, Effective Pain Control, Epidemic of Narcotic Overdoses, James J. Murray Blog, Medical Technology Advances, Medication Abuses, Medication Non-Compliance, Medication Safety Issues, Murder Mayhem and Medicine, New Blog, New Drug Research, New Research Technology, Non-Addictive Pain Treatments, Opiate Epidemic, Opioid Crisis, Opioid Crisis Management, Opioid Therapy Alternatives, Pain Biomarkers, Patient Therapy Outcomes, Pharmacy/Pharmaceuticals, Prescription Drug Safety, Prescription Drugs Become Street Drugs, Prescription For Murder Blog, Prescription Narcotic Overdoses, Prescription Painkiller Overdose, Prescription Prescribing Practices, The Opioid Epidemic, The Pharmacy Profession, The Practice of Pharmacy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Quantifying Pain Effectively

  1. Jim Burk says:

    Jim I really enjoyed reading your treatise on pain and the connection with over prescribing with the opioid crisis starring us right in the face. Thanks for sharing. Jim

    Sent from my iPhone


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