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A Review of the Evaluation of Pain Using a Variety of Pain Scales

Release Date: January 06, 2011
Expiration Date: January 31, 2013

Intended Audience

Physicians, Registered Nurses, Physician Assistants

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this activity, the participant should be able to:

  • Identify common definitions of pain
  • Identify common methods used to assess a patient's pain
  • Name improved methods of assessing pain
  • Identify other pain assessment tools

Statement of Need

Pain assessment is an important part of treating critical and chronic conditions. However, pain assessment can be very difficult because pain is experienced differently by every individual, and a patient’s ability to communicate details about the pain depends on that particular patient’s condition and cognitive ability. A 2006 study indicated “pain assessment is the first step in proper pain relief… an important goal in patients' care. Although critical care clinicians strive to obtain each patient's self-report of pain, many factors compromise patients' ability to communicate verbally, including the use of sedative agents, mechanical ventilation, and changes in the level of consciousness.”

Method of Participation

This activity has a $5.00 fee and should take approximately one hour to complete. Participants should first read the objectives and other introductory CE information, then proceed to the educational offering. To receive credit for this activity, participants must complete the post-test with a passing score of 80%, then complete the evaluation. This credit is valid through January 31, 2013. No credit will be given after this date.

In the event you have questions about this activity or are unable to print the certificate, please email and a certificate will be emailed within 2 weeks.

System requirements

  • Computer or smart phone with internet access
  • Web browser (IE 7.0+ or Webkit/Mozilla Compatible) with Javascript enabled


Dannemiller is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.


Dannemiller designates this enduring material for a maximum of 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Registered Nurses

Dannemiller is a provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number 4229 for 1.00 contact hours.
RNs outside of California must verify with their licensing agency for approval of this course.

Physician Assistants

AAPA accepts certificates of participation for educational activities certified for Category 1 credit from AOACCME, Prescribed credit from AAFP, and AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ from organizations accredited by the ACCME. Physician assistants may receive a maximum of 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™ for completing this program.


Michael Whitworth, MD
Fellow of the International Institute of Pain and the International College of Surgeons.  He is on the Board of Directors of ISIS and American Academy of Pain Medicine.  Additionally, Dr. Whitworth holds board certifications from the American Board of Pain Medicine, American Board of Interventional Pain Medicine, American Board of Minimally Invasive Spine Medicine and Surgery, American Board of Anesthesiology and American Board of Pain Management.


In accordance with the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), Dannemiller requires that any person who is in a position to control the content of a CME activity must disclose all relevant financial relationships they have with a commercial interest.

The following faculty stated they have no relevant financial disclosures:

  •  Michael Whitworth, MD

Dannemiller staff, Barbra Thompson, Publications Project Manager, has nothing to disclose. 

To resolve identified conflicts of interest, the educational content was fully reviewed by a physician member of the Dannemiller Education Committee who has nothing to disclose. The resulting certified activity was found to provide educational content that is current, evidence based and commercially balanced.

Off-label statement

This educational activity may contain discussion of published and/or investigational uses of agents that are not indicated by FDA. The opinions expressed in the educational activity are those of the faculty. Please refer to the official prescribing information for each product for discussion of approved indications, contraindications and warnings. Further, participants should appraise the information presented critically and are encouraged to consult appropriate resources for any product or device mentioned in this program.


The content and views presented in this educational activity are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Dannemiller. This material is prepared based upon a review of multiple sources of information, but it is not exhaustive of the subject matter. Therefore, healthcare professionals and other individuals should review and consider other publications and materials on the subject matter before relying solely upon the information contained within this educational activity.