NPR story questions use of pain scale

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NPR ran a story recently about the problems with using the “0 to 10” pain scale that has been shared widely among plaintiff’s lawyers on social media. My law partner, Roger Moore blogged about the pain scale in January and his post made many of the same points as the NPR article.

To sum up, the pain scale isn’t all that helpful to doctors. It may be more helpful for patients to describe the quality of pain like “dull” or “shooting”. It may also be helfpful to talk about how pain can limit activity rather than quantify pain with a number. Some experts believe the use of the pain scale has lead to the over-prescription of opioids.

The pain scale can also be used to discredit injured employees involved in litigation by getting them to overestimate pain to make them look like they are exaggerating symptoms. I always object to pain scale questions when my clients are being examined by opposing counsel. The growing awareness of the problems with the pain scale may lead doctors to move away from using the pain scale and may lead lawyers not to ask questions about the pain scale.

(Sorry, “I read it on Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Watch” merchandise is not available)

 

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

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