Pain Assessment

Introduction to Pain

Almost everyone has experienced the physical sensation of pain. You may have felt a headache, a backache, or pain from a paper cut or a burn from touching a hot surface. 

Consider the last time you experienced pain. What did it feel like? How did it affect you? (e.g., physically, emotionally, socially). Was there tissue damage? These questions help us understand the nature of pain and how it affects each person.

Pain is a complex phenomenon, so we need to understand how it is conceptualized, classified, and the various types of pain. All of these components influence best practices related to pain assessment. It is important to be aware of the RNAO (2013) best practice guidelines related to pain assessment and management. These guidelines provide information and resources related to assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation of pain, among other recommendations.

Let’s begin by exploring the phenomenon of physical pain.


RNAO (2013). Assessment and management of pain. 3rd edition.


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