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A scale called the visual analogue scale is a straight line — either horizontal or vertical — the ends of which are fixed by a statement of the extreme limits of the sensation to be measured. For example, ‘no pain’ or ‘excruciating pain’. You can then estimate your position on this line on a particular day, or a particular moment. Thus, on

one day a score of 80 might be obtained when your pain is at its severest. Yet, on another, a very good day, you may rate your pain as low as 20.-This simple method of self-assessment can therefore give the treating physician, or therapist, a reasonably accurate means of comparing your pain over a period of weeks or months. This type of scale appears to be very sensitive to changes in pain following treatments of all kinds.

This compares well with verbal rating scales where words are chosen from a list of up to 100 or more words to describe their pain.

A pressure algometer is also used. This is a spring-loaded device which measures the pressure needed to cause pain to the person undergoing the pain experiment.

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