Measuring pain: How much does it hurt?

January 10, 2017

Enlarge (credit: Flickr user: vaXzine)

How can doctors measure pain? For Mosaic, John Walsh finds out about new ways of assessing the agony. His story is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

One night in May, my wife sat up in bed and said, “I’ve got this awful pain just here.” She prodded her abdomen and made a face. “It feels like something’s really wrong.” Woozily noting that it was 2am, I asked what kind of pain it was. “Like something’s biting into me and won’t stop,” she said.

“Hold on,” I said blearily, “help is at hand.” I brought her a couple of ibuprofen with some water, which she downed, clutching my hand and waiting for the ache to subside.

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