Monday, October 17, 2011

The importance of the Pain Scale

   Using your medical assessment skills in remote areas can be challenging. You are limited to what kit you have available and often find yourself with not much more than just your wits and training to deal with traumatic injuries.

   The Pain Scale is a tool that can assist you in the assessment of a sprain, strain or fracture. Additionally, it is useful for determining whether an injury is getting worse or better. For the internal injuries it is difficult to effectively assess the extent of the injury in a remote setting. Using the pain scale can be helpful in monitoring the casualty during evacuation.
   The pain scale is best used for long term observations. Getting baseline vital signs will allow you to know where the casualty is at the moment. As you continue to assess and treat the casualty and document the vital signs you will start to determine whether the casualty is getting better or worse.

   The Pain Scale is as follows:

   If you notice, the Pain Scale is divided into three catagories: Minor, Moderate and Severe. 
        Mild Pain: Well tolerated. The casualty feels the pain but can handle it.
        Moderate Pain:  The casualty cannot maintain daily activities without the pain being for front on their minds.
        Severe Pain: The casualty will not do much but sit there and moan. 

Here is the Pain Scale described by the TV show Scrubs:

More information can be found at Remote Medicine Ireland.

1 comment:

  1. A well defined and explained pain scale which would greatly improve communication between patient and doctor. My wife nearly died because the doctor did not understand the severity of her pain. The high end of the scale defined as passing out gives an objective basis which is lacking when a doctor says " What is the pain on a scale 1 to 10?"


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