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Pain Management Health Center

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Quality of Life Scale for Pain

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If you feel chronic pain, it's probably taking a toll on your quality of life. That's true whether your pain is due to cancer, shingles, arthritis, injury, or any other cause. A quality of life scale is one tool that can help your doctor assess your pain. This same scale can help you and your doctor monitor improvement, deterioration, or treatment-related complications.

Who Developed the Quality of Life Scale for Pain?

The Quality of Life Scale: A Measure of Function for People With Pain was developed by the American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA).

How Is the Quality of Life Scale for Pain Used?

When you first seek treatment for pain, completing this pain questionnaire provides your doctor a baseline of your pain. It shows how pain affects you in several ways:

  • Your ability to work
  • Your ability to socialize
  • Your ability to exercise
  • Your ability to perform household chores
  • Your mood

Numbers on the Quality of Life Scale for Pain

You're asked to rank your quality of life on a scale of zero (non-functioning) to 10 (normal quality of life). For example, a 0 might indicate you stay in bed all day and feel hopeless about life, where a 7 might mean you can work or volunteer a few hours each day, and a 10 indicates you can work every day and carry on a social life.

Your doctor may ask you to repeat the Quality of Life Scale during the course of your treatment. It will help your health care team evaluate how well your treatment plan is working and determine if it needs to be revised.

The Quality of Life Scale for Pain Is One Tool to Manage Your Pain

The Quality of Life Scale is one tool your doctor uses to help manage your pain. A Pain Diary is another tool that enables your health care provider to profile your pain and manage it. For the pain diary, you're asked to log where the pain is, how severe it is, what you were doing when it started or worsened, and whether you used medicine or other treatments.

Treating chronic pain can be a challenge. Help your doctor help you by providing an accurate picture of your pain and its impact on your life from one visit to the next.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on April 28, 2015
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