Introduction

This chapter is intended to help the reader to understand how to assess all of the consequences, good and bad, of treating pain. Chapters on individual chronic pain conditions will include measures that have been used to measure the effect of the appropriate treatments. Specific pain measuring tools are also described elsewhere in this book (Chapter 3, Selecting and applying pain measures and Chapter 2, Practical methods for pain intensity measurements in the Practice and Procedures volume of this series). These and many other sources of data describe which pain measures are available. We will discuss who benefits from outcome measurement and the application of measures in a variety of different situations. It is necessary to know when measures can be applied and to have an understanding of how they may be used (and unfortunately abused) in research and clinical practice. It is impossible to specify all the possibilities for measuring outcome in chronic pain, but a wide range will be considered by the use of pertinent examples from the literature. These are included only to illustrate aspects of the process of outcome measurement rather than to demonstrate the superiority, or otherwise, of specific treatments. We will start by considering the reasons for measuring outcome.

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