Pain Assessment Resources

Pain Assessment Resources

Description of the location, duration, and other characteristics of pain is key to effective diagnosis and treatment. It's important to assess the impact of pain on the nature of the pain itself as well as the patient's quality of life.56

Healthcare professionals can use these scales to get a better understanding of their patients' pain, document changes, and set treatment goals for patients regardless of age or language barriers.

Brief Pain Inventory (BPI)57

  • Self-administered patient questionnaire
  • Questions address the impact of pain on psychosocial functioning
  • Can be used to assess both pain intensity and degree of patient disability
  • For patients with progressive conditions58

Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire59

  • Designed specifically for the assessment of back pain and its attendant disabilities
  • May be self-administered by the patient or used for discussion
  • 24-point scale; higher score indicates greater disability
  • Validated in both clinical and research settings61

Pain Assessment and Documentation Tool (PADT)62

  • Two-sided chart note that can be easily included in the patient's medical record
  • Assesses pain relief, side effects, and aspects of functioning as well as potential aberrant drug-related behavior34

Numeric Pain Intensity Scale and Pain Distress Scale63

  • Patients are asked to rate their pain on a scale from 0 to 10, where 0 is no pain and 10 is extreme pain
  • Scale allows for assessment of both pain intensity and degree of pain tolerance
  • Can also be used to evaluate levels of disability and pain relief

Wong-Baker FACES® Pain Rating Scale64,65

  • Uses drawings of various facial expressions (from smiling to crying) that indicate pain intensity
  • May be used in patients aged 3 years and up
  • Available in 30+ languages at

References Used in the Section:

  • 56Federation of State Medical Boards of the United States. Model guidelines for the use of controlled substances for the treatment of pain. Euless, TX: The Federation; 2004.
  • 57Brief Pain Inventory. Charles S. Cleeland, PhD. Pain Research Group. 1991.
  • 58National Pharmaceutical Council (NPC). Pain: current understanding of assessment, management, and treatments. NPC Web site. December 2001. Accessed June 5, 2011.
  • 59Roland MO, Morris RW. A study of the natural history of back pain. Part 1: Development of a reliable and sensitive measure of disability in low back pain. Spine. 1983; 8;141-144.
  • 61Trout AT, Kallmes DF, Gray LA, et al. Evaluation of vertebroplasty with a validated outcome measure: the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2005;26(10):2652-2657.
  • 62Pain Assessment and Documentation Tool (PADT™). Janssen Pharmaceutical Products, L.P. 2003.
  • 63British Pain Society. Pain Rating Scale. Accessed June 5, 2011.
  • 64Wong DL, Baker CM. Pain in children: comparison of assessment scales. Pediatr Nurs.1988;14(1):9-17.
  • 65 Wong-Baker FACES® Foundation (2014). Wong-Baker FACES® Pain Rating Scale. Retrieved January 1, 2014 with permission from