Thursday, July 7, 2011

In Era of Prescription Drug Abuse, Doctors Have Few Tools to Measure Pain

Join Together, July 6, 2011

"In an era when prescription drug abuse is on the rise, doctors still don’t have a good way to measure pain objectively, The Wall Street Journal reports. The most common way to measure pain is to ask patients to rate it themselves on a scale of one to 10, or to match up their pain to a cartoon face that shows an expression similar to what they are feeling.
Joel Saper, Director of the Michigan Head Pain and Neurological Institute in Ann Arbor, told the newspaper, 'We don’t have a pain-o-meter.' His estimate is that between 15 to 20 percent of patients seeking relief from pain either don’t have pain or have less pain than they say they do. There are a variety of reasons why patients fake pain. While some are dependent on opioids or want to resell them, others want to get out of working and collect disability. Still others find power in their pain, Dr. Saper says." Read More

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