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Universal Pain Scale

Pain is the result of a physiological series of electrical and chemical events that occur in the body. When pain receptors are triggered by mechanical, chemical, or thermal stimuli, the pain signal is transmitted through the nerves, spinal cord and to the brain. Pain may come and go or it may be constant. Pain attacks the human body at every vulnerable target such as muscles, bones, and joints.

Acute pain begins suddenly and lasts just a moment and is usually sharp. It serves as a warning of disease or a threat to the body. It may be caused by many circumstances such as surgery, broken bones, burns or cuts, labor and childbirth, and etc. However, unrelieved acute pain, may lead to chronic pain.
Chronic pain persists for weeks, months, or years despite the fact that an injury has healed. Common chronic pain complaints include: headache, low back pain, cancer pain, arthritis pain, neurogenic pain, or psychogenic pain.

The pain scale is a self evaluation tool that helps patients to assess the severity of pain being experienced. The rating scale is recommended for patients 3 years old and above. Just click on the face that best illustrates the pain you are feeling.

From Wong DL, Hockenberry-Eaton M, Wilson D, Winkelstein ML, Schwartz P: Wong's Essentials of Pediatric Nursing, 6/e, St. Louis, 2001, P. 1301.

DISCLAIMER : While this scale should not be used to make your own diagnosis, it can be an effective tool to help you identify the severity of pain you are experiencing.

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