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J Clin Epidemiol. 2002 Feb;55(2):105-10.

Efforts to standardize the reporting of pain.

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  • 1Division of Health Services Research and Policy, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, University of Minnesota Clinical Outcomes Research Center, 420 Delaware Street SE (Mayo Mail Code 197), Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.


In an effort to develop a method for standardizing patients' reports of pain intensity, we tested seven different approaches to employing patients' ratings of four consistent types of pain as a means of correcting their reports (the average of the four standard pain measures, the average of the greater pains--finger in a door and tooth drilling, the average of the lesser pains--blister and leg cramp, the predicted back pain VAS from a regression of the standard pains, a conversion to the same scale based on population mean, the difference between individual mean and population mean of the four standard pain measures, and the difference between individual range and population range of the four standard pain measures). None of the adjustments proved to be a substantial improvement over the unstandardized approach. The best adjuster was the approach that used the average of the greater pain scores.

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