Pain intensity rating as an assessment tool at crossroads in the clinic and in clinical research

numeric pain rating scale
By Miroslav "Misha" Backonja, Senior Medical Director, Worldwide Clinical Trials,

  Pain intensity rating, most often administered as a numeric pain rating scale (NPRS), where 0 is no pain and 10 is the worst pain imaginable, has been an essential pain assessment tool in clinical research for decades and in everyday clinical practice for more than a decade and a half when it was introduced as a Fifth Vital Sign. In clinical practice, it has been a standard and a mandate that clinicians assess pain as a Fifth Vital Sign and also to intervene with the goal to lessen severe pain in their patients. The wide acceptance of the standard to assess severe pain and to respond with the simplest intervention of prescribing analgesics resulted in overprescribing.

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