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Keywords:

  • pain;
  • pain assessment

Congruence between health professionals’ and patients’ pain ratings: a review of the literature

The literature suggests that health professionals have a tendency to underestimate pain when performing clinical assessments. In addition, it appears that the more clinical experience one has, the greater will be the underestimation of pain. Pain assessment is difficult because of the complex interaction between environment, patient and practitioner variables. Although there is a need for further research in this area, there are clinical implications worthy of consideration. Health professionals need to use a variety of valid and reliable measures, use measures of pain behaviour and disability to complement self-report measures and examine how their own biases and values may influence pain judgements.