Study: Clinical Interpretation of Self-Reported Pain Scores
A Study was conducted to identify self-reported pain scores that best represent categories of no pain, mild, moderate, and severe pain in children, and a pain score that accurately represents a child’s perceived need for medication (PNM), i.e. a minimum pain score at which a child would want an analgesic.

Prospective cross-sectional cohort study of children aged 6-17 years with painful and non-painful conditions were included. Pain was measured using the Verbal Numerical Rating Scale. Receiver operating characteristic-based methodology was used to determine pain scores that best differentiated no pain from mild, mild from moderate, and moderate from severe pain. Descriptive statistics were used to determine the PNM.

--Researchers analyzed data from 548 children.

--The scores that best represent categories of pain intensity are: 0-1 (no pain), 2-5 (mild), 6-7 (moderate), and 8-10 (severe) out of 10.

--The area under the curve for the cut points differentiating each category ranged from 0.76 to 0.88.

--The median pain score representing PNM was 6 (IQR 4, 7) out of 10.

In conclusion, population-level self-reported pain scores in children were linked to pain severity categories that differed from those commonly utilized. These findings could lead to a more accurate portrayal of the clinical meaning of pain scores and a reduction in research selection bias. The use of pain scores in isolation for clinical decision making or the use of a pain score threshold to indicate a child's PNM are not supported by these findings.