by Alan Jordan
When patients visit Broadgate Spine & Joint Clinic, they are almost always reporting pain as their main problem and lower back pain is a complaint we commonly treat City workers for.
Of course, pain is subjective and each patient will experience varying levels of pain, but it is important that your clinician can determine exactly how much pain you are in so he can devise a suitable treatment plan for you.
How Doctors Measure Pain
Asking the patient how to explain the amount of pain they are in is not always reliable, so exactly how do clinicians manage to measure pain? Clinical instruments that measure the clinical effect of treatments have been developed by medical researchers and we can use these at Broadgate Spine & Joint Clinic.
The Visual Analogue Scale
The visual analogue scale was the most popular clinical instrument for many years and it requires patients to place an X on the scale at the position that demonstrates their pain levels.
The 11 Point Box Scale
While the visual analogue scale is reliable, it is not ideal because doctors have to take the time to measure where the X is placed. Newer numerical scales have been found to be much easier to use and the most common is the 11 point box scale.
When patients have been experiencing lower back pain for a long time, clinicians will use a more in-depth series of these 11-point box scales. Your doctor will use the same 11-point box shown above and ask you to use it to answer the following questions:
- What is your current level of pain?
- What is the worst level of pain that you have experienced during the past 14 days?
- What is the average level of pain that you have experienced during the past 14 days?
The responses to these questions are then added up and divided by three to work out an overall score and this offers your doctor a much more detailed picture of how much pain you are feeling. This will then allow your clinician to devise a suitable treatment plan for you.
You can find more information about how clinicians measure lower back pain in our Broadgate Journal article. For more information about the author Alan Jordan, go to https://www.broadgatespinecentre.co.uk/chiropractor-london/.
With this instrument, patients use an X to mark their pain level in one of the boxes shown below and it is much simpler for a doctor to read.