Measuring pain intensity in patients with neck pain: does it matter how you do it?

Kamper, Steven J., Grootjans, Sanneke J., Michaleff, Zoe A., Maher, Christopher G., Mcauley, James H. and Sterling, Michele (2014) Measuring pain intensity in patients with neck pain: does it matter how you do it?. Pain Practice, 15 2: 159-167. doi:10.1111/papr.12169

Author Kamper, Steven J.
Grootjans, Sanneke J.
Michaleff, Zoe A.
Maher, Christopher G.
Mcauley, James H.
Sterling, Michele
Title Measuring pain intensity in patients with neck pain: does it matter how you do it?
Journal name Pain Practice   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1530-7085
Publication date 2014-01-17
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/papr.12169
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 15
Issue 2
Start page 159
End page 167
Total pages 9
Place of publication Hoboken, NJ, United States
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Language eng
Abstract The aim of this study was to investigate whether variations in the way that pain intensity is measured in patients with neck pain influences the magnitude of pain ratings. The study uses data from 3 longitudinal studies (n = 361 at baseline) on people with neck pain due to whiplash injuries. Pain measures included verbal rating scales, numerical rating scales and a visual analog scale. Different measures asked patient to rate current pain, average pain over 24 hours, over 1 week, or over 4 weeks. Scores were converted to a 0-100 scale and tracked over time, correlations between measures were calculated. Mixed models regression was used to explore the factors which influenced the differences between scores on the measures. Scores on the different measures were significantly different from each other in each dataset (P < 0.02). The effect of recall period was significant in all datasets and the effect of number of response options was significant in 2 of 3 datasets. Pain intensity ratings appear to be sensitive to method of measurement. It is likely the length of recall time (eg, pain today vs. average pain over 4 weeks) has a significant influence on pain ratings. The influence of number of response options is less certain. Systematic reviewers should not uncritically rescale and pool absolute pain scores from instruments with varying scale descriptors or recall periods.
Keyword Pain score
Neck pain
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Available online ahead of print 17 January 2014.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Medicine Publications
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