Measuring Pain Intensity in Elderly Patients

Pain Measurement


  • Sasikaan Nimmaanrat Department of Anesthesiology Faculty of Medicine Prince of Songkla University
  • Suttipong Tipchatyotin Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Prince of Songkla University



aging, elderly, geriatrics, older, pain measurement, pain measurement tools


Pain intensity is considered as the fifth vital sign. However, it is the only vital sign which is subjective, with there being many pain measurement tools for adults to rate their level of pain. Additionally, there is an increasing number of aging populations throughout the world, and pain measurement in this group of people is challenging as geriatrics have both physical and cognitive impairment.

The most frequently utilized pain measurement tools are; the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), Verbal Rating Scale (VRS), Numerical Rating Scale (NRS); and faces scales [Faces Pain Scale (FPS) and Faces Pain Scale-Revised (FPS-R) are the faces scales studied most often] tend to be valid for measuring pain severity in cognitively intact elderly. When problems arise, the VAS is the pain measurement tool found to have more difficulties (including higher rates of failure) than the other tools. In elderly with cognitive deficits, fewer difficulties tend to occur as the tools become simpler, with the most valid and useful tools in the following order: the FPS/FPS-R, the VRS, the 0-10 NRS, and the VAS. Furthermore, simpler pain measurement tools tend to be favored over more complicated tools. Keywords: aging; elderly; geriatrics; older; pain measurement; pain measurement tools


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How to Cite

Nimmaanrat S, Tipchatyotin S. Measuring Pain Intensity in Elderly Patients: Pain Measurement. PSU Med J [Internet]. 2021 Jul. 1 [cited 2022 Aug. 20];1(2):77-81. Available from:



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