In this issue of the Scandinavian Journal of Pain, Pardis Zalmay and Amanda C de C Williams publish an interesting study on how a group of lay persons understand the commonly used pain intensity scales . This group of medical students early in their clinical training, most likely are a more interested and better informed group of persons than the general public, illustrate that our pain-intensity scales can be misunderstood and misinterpreted.Ever since Michael Bond and Issy Pilowsky in 1966  were the first to use and publish the VAS – the Visual Analogue Scale for assessing subjectively experienced pain intensity, this instrument has been ubiquitously used and misused. The expressions “doing VAS” – “VASing” being synonymous with doing a pain-assessment, at least in the Nordic countries.1The NRS is equally sensitive but more practical in use than the VASMany mix VAS with NRS – the Numeric Rating Scale. The latter can be used without pen and paper, without sharp vision, and without ability to move the indicator on a paper, plastic, or electronic VAS-scale. It is so much easier to ask the patient: “.. .how bad is your pain right now – on a scale from 0 to 10,
Scandinavian Journal of Pain – de Gruyter
Published: Apr 1, 2017
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