Friday, December 25, 2009

Tools for Assessing Neuropathic Pain

When physicians and researchers use the term assessment of neuropathic pain, they may be referring to two distinct types of assessment: (1) assessing pain intensity and quality and possibly their treatment-induced changes, and (2) diagnosing neuropathic (as opposed to non-neuropathic) pain.
Pain is a complex experience that depends strongly on cognitive, emotional, and educational influences. Hence the pressing need for tools that can measure pain objectively. We distinguish four different levels of “objectivity”: (1) laboratory tests that use quantitative tools and measure an objective response; (2) quantitative sensory testing, a measure that despite using quantitative, graded stimuli inevitably relies on the patient's evaluation; (3) bedside examination, which relies on the physician's experience and the patient's ability and willingness to collaborate; and (4) pain questionnaires, tools that depend entirely on the patient.

Article in pdf

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