Severe pain is a common presenting symptom for emergency patients. One major challenge in the management of severe pain is the objective measurement of pain. Due to the subjective nature of pain, it can be very difficult for clinicians to quantify pain intensity and measure the qualitative features of the pain experience. A number of measurement tools have been validated in the acute care setting, with some appropriate for use in the prehospital setting. This paper reviews the characteristics required of a prehospital acute pain measure and appraises the relative utility of a number of currently used pain measures. At present, the verbal numerical rating scale appears the most appropriate pain measure to administer in the prehospital setting for adult patients as it is practical and valid. Either the Oucher scale or the faces pain scale is suitable for prehospital care providers to assess pain in children.[Pubmed 2]
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to establish the impact of patient sex on the provision of analgesia by paramedics for patients reporting pain in the prehospital setting. METHODS: This retrospective cohort study of paramedic patient care records included all adult patients with a Glasgow Coma Score higher than 12 transported to hospital by ambulance in a major metropolitan area over a 7-day period in 2005. Data collected included demographics, patient report of pain and its type and severity, provision of analgesia by paramedics, and type of analgesia provided. The outcomes of interest were sex differences in the provision of analgesia. Data analysis was by descriptive statistics, chi2 test, and logistic regression. RESULTS: Of the 3357 patients transported in the study period, 1766 (53%) reported pain; this forms the study sample. Fifty-two percent were female, median age was 61 years, and median initial pain score (on a 0-10 verbal numeric rating scale) was 6. Forty-five percent of patients reporting pain did not receive analgesia (791/1766) (95% confidence interval [CI], 43%-47%), with no significant difference between sexes (P = .93). There were, however, significant sex differences in the type of analgesia administered, with males more likely to receive morphine (17%; 95% CI, 15%-20%) than females (13%; 95% CI, 11%-15%) (P = .01). The difference remains significant when controlled for type of pain, age, and pain severity (odds ratio, 0.61, 95% CI, 0.44-0.84). CONCLUSION: Sex is not associated with the rate of paramedic-initiated analgesia, but is associated with differences in the type of analgesia administered.The first study tells us to use the number scale, "rate your pain from one to ten, ten being the worst". If we use this scale we have to believe our patients. Its not your emergency, remember? These patients may only complain of pain, and that may be the one treatment you should provide for them. Ice packs are a form of pain management, so often forgotten. Take their pain seriously, and you won't lose their respect. Treat them like they are over-exaggerating, and you won't deserve their respect. Think of the last time you were in serious pain. It may be difficult to convey how it feels, or how much it hurts. A back spasm is an awfully weird feeling, like a tightening that can restrict breathing. Pain management is indicated, and should be initiated in the prehospital setting.