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Recording Back Pain Symptoms - The Numeric Rating Scale for Expressing Back Pain

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Updated March 23, 2007

Recording Back Pain Symptoms - The Numeric Rating Scale for Expressing Back Pain

The Numeric Rating Scale is used to help patients record and communicate the intensity of their back pain symptoms and their neck pain symptoms.

The Numeric Rating Scale, or NRS, is the most commonly used clinical tool to help patients communicate how much back pain or neck pain they are experiencing. To use the Numeric Rating Scale, choose the number between 0 (no pain) and 10 (worst possible pain) that best describes the intensity of back pain you feel. As you can see, 5 is moderate pain. So ratings between 0 and 5 would correspond to pain that is moderate, mild or nonexistent, while ratings between 5 and 10 would express moderate to severe to off-the-charts pain.

Source:

Gould, H.J. III, M.D., Ph.D. (2007). Understanding Pain. Saint Paul, MN: Demos.

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