1. 7991-Pain management and pain registration (EN)

Pijnbestrijding en pijnregistratie

Good pain management requires a customized approach. This leaflet explains how the nurses and staff members of the Acute Pain Service adjust pain management according to your pain symptoms.

The pain score

Pain is an unpleasant symptom or side effect of many diseases and operations. Good pain relief is essential:

  • because it accelerates recovery;
  • inadequate pain relief can inhibit effective coughing, disrupt sleep and thus delay your recovery;
  • too much medication is associated with a risk of side effects. So it is important that you receive precisely the right amount of pain relief.

However, pain varies from patient to patient, which is why good pain management requires a customized approach. In Isala’s nursing departments pain is registered according to a pain score. The pain score gives the nurses and doctors a better understanding of the amount of pain you are experiencing. Based on the amount of pain you are feeling, they can adjust the pain management according to your needs as effectively as possible.

How does it work?

To gain a clear impression of how much pain you are experiencing and whether the pain-relieving measures are effective enough, the nurse will ask you how much pain you are feeling several times a day.
It is possible for you to feel pain in more than one area of your body. An example is pain as a result of an operation or treatment, and pain as a result of lying in bed in an uncomfortable position or for a long period of time. The idea is that you express the worst pain you feel in the form of a score or a picture.
Any information you can give us about your pain perception will enable us to treat you more effectively.
You can indicate your pain in two different ways: with a score on the NRS scale, or a picture on the VAS scale.

With a score

NRS stands for numeric rating scale, and concerns a score on a scale of 0 (no pain) to 10 (the worst possible pain you can imagine). A pain score of 4 or less is considered acceptable.
When determining a pain score, it is best to think back to the pain you had before and compare it to how you are feeling now.
You can never give an incorrect score; after all, it is about the pain you are feeling, and pain is a personal experience.
If you are unable to provide a score, you can use the pain ruler as shown below.

Figure 1 Ruler painscore scale 1 to 10

Figure 1. NRS
10: maximum pain imaginable / 0: no pain

With a picture

You can also use a ruler with different faces. VAS stands for visual analogue scale.
The left end of the ruler is labeled ‘no pain’ and the right end ‘the worst possible pain I can imagine’.

Figure 2 Ruler painscore different faces

Figure 2. VAS


According to your pain score, the nurse will or will not adjust your pain medication (according to a prescribed plan).
If anything is unclear, he/she will consult with the doctor. Please note that you will not be 100% pain free, but the pain should be bearable.


If something is unclear to you or if you have any questions, please ask a nurse in your nursing department for an explanation.
Do you have an appointment in the near future? Check your appointment confirmation to see when and where you are expected.

Laatst gewijzigd 30 november 2021 / 7991