Comparison of a verbal numeric rating scale with the visual analogue scale for the measurement of acute pain.
ABSTRACT To test the agreement between the visual analogue scale (VAS) and a verbal numeric rating scale (VNRS) in measuring acute pain, and measure the minimum clinically significant change in VNRS.
Patients scored their pain by the VAS and the VNRS, then re-scored their pain every 30 min for up to 2 h. Patients also recorded whether their pain had improved or worsened. Agreement between scores was evaluated, and where patients scored their pain as 'a bit worse' or 'a bit better' the mean change in VNRS was calculated.
A total of 309 paired observations were obtained from 79 patients. The VAS and VNRS were highly correlated (r = 0.95, 95% CI 0.94-0.96). The VNRS was significantly higher than the VAS for the paired observations, with 95% of the differences between VAS and VNRS lying between -2.3 and 1.3 cm. The minimum clinically significant difference in VNRS was 1.4 cm (95% CI 1.2-1.6).
The VNRS performs as well as the VAS in assessing changes in pain. However, although the VAS and VNRS are well correlated, patients systematically score their pain higher on the VNRS, with an unacceptably wide distribution of the differences.
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ABSTRACT: Neck pain is a common musculoskeletal complaint and is often associated with shoulder or arm pain. There is a paucity of information on effective treatment for neck and arm pain, such as radiculopathy or cervico-brachial pain. Guidelines recommend neck mobilisation/ manipulation, exercises and advice as the treatment for neck pain, and neck and arm pain. There are a few studies that have used neural mobilisation as the treatment for cervico-brachial pain. Although results seem promising the studies have small sample sizes that make it difficult to draw definite conclusions. A randomised controlled trial will be used to establish the effect of neural mobilisation on the pain, function and quality of life of patients with cervico-brachial pain. Patients will be recruited in four physiotherapy private practices and randomly assigned to usual care or usual care plus neural mobilisation. In clinical practice neural mobilisations is commonly used for cervico-brachial pain. Although study outcomes seem promising, most studies have small participant numbers. Targeting the neural structures as part of the management plan for a subgroup of patients with nerve mechano-sensitivity seems feasible. Patients with neuropathic pain and psychosocial risk factors such as catastrophising, respond poorly to treatment. Although a recent study found these patients less likely to respond to neural mobilisation, the current study will be able to assess whether neural mobilisation has any added benefit compared to usual care. The study will contribute to the knowledge base of treatment of patients with cervico-brachial pain. The findings of the study will be published in an appropriate journal.Trial registration: Trial registration Number: PACTR201303000500157.BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 12/2014; 15(1):419. DOI:10.1186/1471-2474-15-419 · 1.90 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Pain is common at an emergency department (ED). Two common scales used to rate intensity are the visual analog scale (VAS) and the numeric rating scale (NRS), but it remains unknown which is superior to use in the ED. The aim of the study is to compare correlations between values on the VAS and the NRS in patients visiting the ED as well as to assess the patients' preference of scale. Patients who visited the ED due to chest pain, abdominal pain, or an orthopedic condition during autumn 2012 were enrolled onto a cross-sectional study with a consecutive sample. Patients rated their pain using the VAS and NRS scales. They answered an open-ended oral questionnaire regarding their preference and their estimation of the sufficiency of the scales. Data were analyzed with significance test. In all, 217 patients (70% of eligible, 94% of invited) participated. The pain scores generated from the NRS and the VAS were found to strongly correlate (mean difference, 0.41; 95% confidence interval, 0.29-0.53). Most patients found the NRS easier to use than the VAS (61% and 22%, respectively; P < .001). Furthermore, a majority reported that the NRS reflected/described their pain better than the VAS (53% and 26%, respectively; P < .01). Because values on the NRS correspond well to values on the VAS, values rated with different scales over time might be comparable. Because a majority of the patients found the NRS scale simpler to use and preferred it over the VAS, it might be more appropriate to use in the ED. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.American Journal of Emergency Medicine 01/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.ajem.2014.12.069 · 1.15 Impact Factor