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How do doctors assess pain in an uncommunicative patient?

Doctors encounter many difficulties in determining the severity of acute pain when patients cannot communicate to them. They may wish to know, for example, how much pain medication to administer. Sometimes this problem can be addressed by using a different scale: for example, a series of faces from smiling to frowning, rather than a straight line with numbers. Otherwise, doctors will assess likely severity of pain on the basis of the type of injury in question.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.