Rheumatologists update assessments for adult pain

November 16, 2011

Assessment of patient outcomes allows physicians and researchers to measure the success or failure of diagnostics and treatments that patients receive. One set of measurement tools focuses on assessing adult pain and is included in a special issue of Arthritis Care & Research, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), providing physicians and researchers with a single resource of 250 patient outcomes measurements in rheumatology.

The World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that more than 150 rheumatic or musculoskeletal diseases can contribute to pain and disability in adults. Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful, autoimmune disease which causes inflammation in the joints and is estimated to affect up to 1% of the global population. Osteoarthritis is caused by failed repair of injury from various joint stresses, resulting in total joint breakdown. Osteoarthritis--which causes pain, stiffness and reduced movement of affected joints, such as knees, hips, fingers and lower spine, leading to disability--affects close to 10% of men and 18% of women over age 60, worldwide, according to WHO reports.

"Pain is the most significant complaint of patients with rheumatic conditions. Thus, assessment of pain, including its intensity, frequency and impact on the patient's physical function, sleep, mood and overall quality of life is integral to good care," explains Dr. Gillian Hawker, a rheumatologist and clinical epidemiologist at the University of Toronto in Canada. "Our overview of available pain questionnaires provides both clinicians and researchers with a quick reference for comparing and selecting the most appropriate assessment tool for their purpose." Details regarding questionnaire content, ease of use, and measurement properties are included in the review of each questionnaire.

The authors present a review of generic uni- and multi-dimensional pain assessment tools including the Visual Analog Scale, Numeric Rating Scale, Short-form McGill Pain Questionnaire, Chronic Pain Grade Scale, Short Form-36 Bodily Pain Scale, and the Measure of Intermittent and Constant Osteoarthritis Pain. The latter is a relatively new osteoarthritis-specific pain questionnaire designed to evaluate pain patterns and impact that is distinct from the impact of pain on physical function. A discussion of the strengths and weakness of each questionnaire is also provided.

Along with Dr. Hawker's review of "Measures in Adult Pain," assessment tools to measure patient outcomes in areas such as sleep, fatigue, physical function, and depression are also available in this special issue. Dr. Patricia Katz with the University of California and Guest Editor of the Arthritis Care & Research special issue, "Patient Outcomes in Rheumatology, 2011" said, "In this issue, we update and expand the number of patient outcomes measures originally published in 2003 to include more than 250 measures--twice as many as previously covered. This single-source reference provides rheumatologists and researchers with a valuable, up-to-date resource for evaluating current patient assessment tools."
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These studies are published in a special issue of Arthritis Care & Research. Media wishing to receive a PDF of any of the measurement articles may contact healthnews@wiley.com. For a list of all studies in the supplement, please visit: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/acr.v63.11s/issuetoc .

Full citation: "Measures of Adult Pain." Gillian A. Hawker, Samra Mian, Tetyana Kendzerska and Melissa French. Arthritis Care and Research; Published Online: November 7, 2011 (DOI: 10.1002/acr.20543). http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/acr.20543.

About the Journal

Arthritis Care & Research is an official journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), and the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (ARHP), a division of the College. Arthritis Care & Research is a peer-reviewed research publication that publishes both original research and review articles that promote excellence in the clinical practice of rheumatology. Relevant to the care of individuals with arthritis and related disorders, major topics are evidence-based practice studies, clinical problems, practice guidelines, health care economics, health care policy, educational, social, and public health issues, and future trends in rheumatology practice. For details, please visit Arthritis Care & Research.

About Wiley-Blackwell

Wiley-Blackwell is the international scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons, with strengths in every major academic and professional field and partnerships with many of the world's leading societies. Wiley-Blackwell publishes nearly 1,500 peer-reviewed journals and 1,500+ new books annually in print and online, as well as databases, major reference works and laboratory protocols. For more information, please visit www.wileyblackwell.com or our new online platform, Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com), one of the world's most extensive multidisciplinary collections of online resources, covering life, health, social and physical sciences, and humanities.

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