How to measure chronic pain: New concepts

Fausto Salaffi, Piercarlo Sarzi-Puttini, Fabiola Atzeni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abstract The assessment of chronic pain and its impact on physical, emotional and social functions requires the use of multidimensional qualitative and health-related quality of life instruments, but there is still little agreement concerning what these may be or which approach to adopt. Increasing focus on patient-reported outcomes in medicine has had the positive effect of giving prominence to the views and experiences of patients with chronic pain, and the ecological momentary assessment (EMA) approach allows patients' symptoms to be assessed in their natural environment in real time without the need for recall. Computerised EMA symptom diaries are now generally regarded as the 'gold standar ' in the field of pain medicine, and they have recently attracted increasing attention as an essential component of health-care monitoring systems based on the information and communication technology. A web/Internet-based diary and patient terminal seem to provide a ubiquitous, easy-to-use and cost-efficient solution for patient-centred data acquisition. In addition, telemonitoring is increasingly seen as an effective means of supporting shared decision-making as it can inform patients about typical symptoms, treatment options and prognosis, and it is widely accepted as an additional source of information. This article reviews some of the instruments used to assess chronic pain, including newly developed and well-established validated multidimensional instruments and health-care monitoring systems based on information and communication technology, and it discusses their advantages and limitations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1138
Pages (from-to)164-186
Number of pages23
JournalBest Practice and Research: Clinical Rheumatology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2015


  • Assessment tools
  • Chronic pain
  • Clinimetrics
  • Health-related quality of life
  • Information and communication technology
  • Pain scales
  • Rheumatology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology


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