Are There Ways To Compare The Severity Of Different Types Of Pain?

You broke your finger but still managed to tie your shoelaces with little to no discomfort. But the cut on the bottom of your foot? That’s a whole different story – not only does the pain sting, but it makes it hard to walk normally. How do you compare each type?

Types Of Pain

Pain is different for everybody and can sometimes be treated differently, including ketamine therapy. Types of pain:

  • Acute pain is short-term with a sudden and specific cause and normally lasts less than six months and subsides with treatment. It may be sharp or intense before steadily improving. It can be triggered by broken bones, surgery, dental work, labor and childbirth, cuts, and burns.
  • Even after your original injury has healed, pain lasting longer than six months is regarded as chronic. Chronic pain can linger for years, varying from mild to severe on different days. Sometimes there’s no apparent cause, and the pain can affect your quality of life. You may experience muscle tension, lack of energy, reduced mobility, headaches, nerve pain, lower back pain, arthritis, and fibromyalgia pain.
  • The most common type of pain is nociceptive pain, driven by stimulating nociceptors, or pain receptors, for tissue injury. There are nociceptors throughout your body, particularly your internal organs and skin. When they’re aroused by harm, like from a cut or other wound, they transmit electrical signals to your brain, triggering your feeling of pain.
  • Neuropathic pain happens when your nervous system is damaged or otherwise is dysfunctional. As a result, damaged or dysfunctional nerves misfire pain signals. This makes you think the pain is coming from nowhere rather than any specific injury.

How Many People Have Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is a huge problem. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “In 2016, an estimated 20.4% of U.S. adults had chronic pain, and 8.0% of U.S. adults had high-impact chronic pain. Both were more prevalent among adults living in poverty, adults with less than high school education, and adults with public health insurance.”

It’s worse globally, affecting nearly two billion people worldwide, and is known to increase with age.

Are There Ways To Compare The Severity Of Different Types Of Pain?

The best way to compare the severity of different types of pain is using pain assessment scales and tools. Pain scales are tools to measure and identify your pain. The results can offer a pathway for diagnosis, track the evolution of a condition, and decide if a treatment is working. The main goal is to help improve the interaction between you and your doctor.

The most common pain scales usually settle into one of three types:

  • Numerical rating scales use numbers for pain rating.
  • Visual analog scales typically ask you to mark a place on a scale matching your level of pain.
  • Categorical scales use words to describe the pain and may also feature colors, numbers, or locations to communicate pain.

Other useful tools to ask your healthcare provider about include:

  • Quantitative scales measure your response to treatment.
  • Qualitative pain scales may provide details into the source of your pain.

Common pain assessment tools

  • OPQRST – Onset of event, Provocation, and palliation of symptoms, Quality, Region and radiation, Severity, Timing
  • QISS TAPED – Quality, Impact, Site, Severity, and Temporal Characteristics, Aggravating and alleviating factors, Past response-preferences, Expectations-goals-meaning, Diagnostic & physical exam 
  • SOCRATES – Site, Onset, Character, Radiation, Associations, Time course, Exacerbating/relieving factors, Severity
  • Pain risk assessment form
  • Pain and sedation scales

Pain assessment scales for adults

  • Numerical Rating Scale
  • Visual Analog Scale
  • Defense and Veterans Pain Rating Scale
  • Adult Non-Verbal Pain Scale
  • Pain Assessment in Advanced Dementia Scale
  • Behavioral Pain Scale
  • Critical-Care Observation Tool

There are also many pain scales used in pediatrics.

Final Thoughts

For so many of us dealing with depression, anxiety, PTSD, and more, it can feel like we’ve run out of options. Fortunately, that’s no longer the case thanks to innovative new treatments like ketamine-assisted therapy.

Contact us today at KDI Health to learn more!

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