Pain outcomes: a brief review of instruments and techniques

Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2009 Feb;13(1):39-43. doi: 10.1007/s11916-009-0009-x.


Pain is a difficult outcome to measure due to its multifaceted and subjective nature. The need for selecting proper outcome measures is high because of the increasing demand for scientifically valid demonstrations of treatment efficacy. This article discusses some basic topics in the measurement of pain outcomes and addresses issues such as statistical versus clinical significance, daily home data collection, appropriate length of outcome measurement packets, and the possibility of objective pain measurements. This article also reviews some of the more commonly used tools for measuring pain and pain-related disability. By selecting the proper tools and employing them correctly, we can obtain highly reliable and valid measures of pain outcomes in research and clinical care.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Pain / classification
  • Pain / diagnosis*
  • Pain / psychology
  • Pain Measurement / methods*
  • Pain Measurement / standards*
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Treatment Outcome