Pain measurement tools for clinical practice and research

AANA J. 1996 Apr;64(2):133-40.


An important component of effective postoperative pain management is a measure of the patient's pain intensity. This article examines three unidimensional pain measurement instruments and one multidimensional pain measurement instrument used in daily practice and clinical research. The strengths and weaknesses of the numerical rating scale, verbal descriptor scale, visual analogue scale, and the McGill Pain Questionnaire are discussed. Issues of validity and reliability, important in clinical research, are also presented.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Nursing Research
  • Humans
  • Nurse Anesthetists
  • Pain Measurement / methods*
  • Pain Measurement / standards*
  • Pain, Postoperative / diagnosis*
  • Pain, Postoperative / nursing
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results