The Problem with Pain Scales

This is yet another great article tackling the difficulty of understanding and rating an individual’s pain.  Back in the late ’80s, one of the first phrases we were taught as a group of new student nurses was “Pain is what the patient says it is” and in the latter stages of my career as a Palliative care nurse, I witnessed many different descriptions of pain from a wide variety of people. However I have only come to truly appreciate the huge discrepancies in the different types of pain through personal experience.  Whilst I have always had pain from EDS and had my first back surgery in 1991 (in acute pain and cauda equina syndrome), it has been since my late 30s that I experienced chronic pain in my back and leg.  The further failed surgeries have exacerbated the symptoms of my EDS, and as I had to wean myself from using opiate medication in order to have a spinal cord stimulator, so the pain in joints and soft tissue was unmasked.  The irony in all of this is that I now would be a much better nurse – I think I was pretty good in the first place – and have a better understanding of my patients’ needs and difficulties explaining their pain.

So without further ado please have a look at this great post from occupational therapist & chronic illness sufferer Jo over at JBOT – Jo Southall

A critical look at the use of pain scales in occupational therapy, what pain patients really think. written from the dual perspective.

Throughout my Occupational Therapy training and my short but already meaningful career I’ve heard two key phrases in relation to OT.

‘Holistic’ and ‘Client centred’ .. even as students who struggled to explain exactly what being an OT involved we all knew that we had to practice holistically and be client centred.

So, we treat the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors and the environment, rather than just the symptoms of a disease. We do this placing the responsibility for the treatment process on the client, with the therapist taking a supportive role .

This is especially true when talking about persistent pain….


For the full article visit: The Problem with Pain Scales