Research Department at Phoenix Area Arizona Pain Specialists Selected to Debut Revolutionary Pain Scale Tool
The research department at Arizona Pain Specialists in conjunction with PainDoctor.com has developed a tool that changes how pain physicians will interpret the effect pain has on their patients. Chosen by the American Society of Regional Anesthesia to be presented at their 2010 Fall Conference, this tool was unveiled today to physicians and scientists concerned with the highest level of medical excellence.
As the face of medicine continually and consistently changes, the tools used to assess and treat patients needs to reflect the latest in technology and advancements. Dr. Lynch and Dr. McJunkin, founding physicians of Arizona Pain Specialists, have created a tool for PainDoctor.com to replace outdated methods of gathering information, and are confident that the Global Pain Scale will change the way physicians across the world treat pain. Similar to the way a blood pressure reading provides accurate data to allow for treating a condition, the Global Pain Scale will provide accurate data showing both the physiological and psychological effects pain exerts on the body and mind to aid in better treatment outcomes.
For many years, the industry standard of pain level reporting was a Visual Analog Scale, or a VAS. Patients would be advised to indicate the illustration that most closely corresponds to how they feel. Ranging from “no pain” to “worst pain possible,” this pain scale can be adapted for all age groups.
In recent history, many physicians have completely abandoned the VAS, and use a Numeric Rating Scale, or NRS. The NRS is obtained by asking the patient how bad their pain is on a one to ten scale. While the VAS and NRS have been utilized for a number of years, the element of pain has continued to examined and studied, and it has been determined that in addition to assessment of the physiological aspects of pain, the psychological aspects of pain and pain perception must also be addressed.
The Global Pain Scale is to be used as a brief but thorough screening tool for physicians to use when evaluating the basic functioning levels of their patients. This tool is then to be used continually to monitor change over time in both acute or chronic pain. A one page, simple test, the Global Pain Scale will assess not only the physical aspect of pain, but will give physicians information regarding the effects pain has on their patients in four specific categories, including: a numeric rating scale, how pain has affected the patient’s emotional well-being, clinical outcomes, and the effect a patient’s pain has on their activities of daily living (known as ADLs). While both the VAS and NRS can only address how the patient currently feels, the Global Pain Scale addresses the effects pain has had on the patient’s life. While using the Global Pain Scale, physicians will ask the patient a number of questions, which will include inquiries regarding how pain has affected the patient’s relationships with their family and friends, their ability to continue employment or complete chores around their home, and whether their pain has affected the quality of their sleep. This in-depth information looks into the patient’s life and relationships, and will give the physician an accurate portrayal of how pain affects them on a day-to-day basis.
While the Global Pain Scale is still in its infancy, it is on the fast track to becoming adopted as the standard assessment tool for physicians when treating patients with acute and chronic pain. By being presented at the ASRA Conference today, the Global Pain Scale moves even closer to world-wide adoption as the scale to measure a patient’s pain.