Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
h a l f b a k e r y
The Out-of-Focus Group.

idea: add, search, annotate, link, view, overview, recent, by name, random

meta: news, help, about, links, report a problem

account: browse anonymously, or get an account and write.



Please log in.
Before you can vote, you need to register. Please log in or create an account.

pain unit

a unit for the measurement of pain
  [vote for,

some things hurt. somethings hurt more than that. if things hurt different amounts then there must be a better concise way of describing how much it hurts without using inexact adjectives like "excruciating".

how can it be measured? what is the name of the unit? what is the value of one unit? perhaps equal to a pinch in the ass? a shot in the arm?

gnormal, Feb 05 2001

Link Between IQ and Pain Sensitivity? http://bottomquark....rticle.php?sid=1194
Ow. I'd better take a break from typing.... [centauri, Feb 05 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Is Pluto a planet? http://www.usatoday...weather/wppluto.htm
Link to support an admittedly off-topic annotation. [beauxeault, Feb 05 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

answers.google.com on the subject https://answers.goo...d=threadview&id=151
Fortunately with more factual information than this page, which they link back to. [jutta, Apr 18 2002]


       Problem is that pain is entirely subjective. A tooth abcess may not necessarily hurt much, but the pain -never stops-, which to me is worse than a paper cut that hurts like hell for an hour then goes away.
StarChaser, Feb 05 2001

       of course pain differs from person to person, but even so, pain units are absolute with respect to the person.   

       so your abcess might hurt like 0.4 ouches, but that doesnt have to mean you like it all day long. you're just saying you'd rather have an hour of 5 ouch pain than a day of 0.4 ouch pain. no problem.   

       further, some people have a high tolerance for pain. well, that means higher than someone else. so there must be a fixable scale. a paper cut may be a 5 oucher to you, but to me it's only a 4.2.   

       [i forgot to say before: This is possible under existing technology.]
gnormal, Feb 05 2001

       i agree about the scale. i too have probably never experienced anything over a 3, for which i am thankful.   

       but i think you are giving up too soon Waug Squeke, on the scale and unit convention. i think it can be done much much better than "excruciating" and "hurts like hell".   

       once i got a tracheascopy. they greased up a fiberoptic cable with KY jelly and shoved it up my nose, down my throat, and into my lungs so they could see, in order to collect some lung cells or something (i got $75 buck for it in college as a guinea pig. good money then.) well, that procedure illustrated to me that there is a difference between "pain" and "extreme discomfort".   

       so lets leave out extreme discomfort, leave out ache, leave out soreness. we're just talking about pain.   

       there is also no problem with duration or intermittancy. one would merely describe their pain as "1.3 ouch intermittant." one's $19 ISP bill is intermittant (monthly), but it still has a value (19).   

       finally, perhaps it is not necessary to find the bounds of pain in order to quantify it (although it's what we usually do). instead maybe if we can just define a discreet measure we can work outward. for example, first we measured visible light. then we found out about xrays, ultraviolet, etc. but we discovered the latter AFTER knowing about the wavelength unit.   

       another example: they dont call pluto the last planet. they call it the ninth planet.
gnormal, Feb 05 2001

       Hey centauri: I for one would sure appreciate it if you would stop typing -- it hurts me so much to read it.   

       gnormal: Some of "they" aren't even calling Pluto the ninth planet any more (see link).
beauxeault, Feb 05 2001

       Using units that do not have a reference is pointless.   

       'Pain units are absolute with respect to the person', but completely meaningless. What difference does it make if it's 5 or 5.5? It still needs to be fixed.
StarChaser, Feb 05 2001

       Using units that do not have a reference is indeed pointless. but the reference neednt be the far end of the pain spectrum (a theoretical 10). all we need are two universal reference points from which to extrapolate or interpolate, right?   

       Zero (no pain) can be one of them. we all know what that is. it is exaclty equal to 0 gain.   

       but seriously, one reference point can be zero, another widely familiar pain can be the other. what are some widely familiar, specific, pains?   

       what if we said a bee sting was equal to 1 ouch? in fact, why not. i the inventor, say so: bee sting = 1 ou.   

       now there are two ways to proceed. we could (A) assume it is impossible to find a universal scale and STILL come up with a pain unit for personal use, or (B) we can attempt to close in on a scale that is universal.   

       (A) in this case we can define that the bee sting equals 1 ou. for the person receiving the sting. to extrapolate to 2 ou. we could ask the person: "what is twice as painful as a bee sting?" if they can't think of anything we could interview them about a wide range of pains. for example, "would you rather be stung by a bee twice, or get one small first degree burn on your finger while cooking?" this would tell us whether a small first degree burn was less than or greater than 2 ou. step by step you could properly paint the pain spectrum for any person with a degree of error of a handful of bee stings. that's not bad.   

       (B) if we were to do the same for a second subject we would get similar results. the two subject's respective experiences of a bee sting cannot be said to be equal. but it is reasonable to suppose it's close. so let's, for now, say that for almost everyone, a bee sting is approximately 1 ou.   

       now if we did this to lots of people, we would probably begin to see some correllation between most of the pain spectrums of complete strangers. how close? i dont know. close enough to notice a correllation? yes.   

       well, once you have correllation to look at, you see a fuzzy picture of some universal pain milestones. you can then work farther to try to further clarify the picture with more resolution by getting more specific data via more specific questions.   

       it can still be assumed that our experiences of most pains would be close, plus or minus something less than shaving a nostril open. that is, we could come up with a unit, and the unit would be useful.   

       it would take a lot of research on many people, but you could close in on a pain unit with a minimal variance.   

       it's an inexact science, but it is a quantifiable stuff. we have those in science already. for example, what is an IQ point? how does that scale work? maybe pain works the same way. or maybe pain is logarithmic? but it's not so arbitrary we should give up. it's not nearly as tough an assignment as the fleshball.
gnormal, Feb 06 2001


       EMTs & paramedics have used this idea informally for a while now: "On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst...how bad does it hurt?" For each person's 1 and 10 may be based on entirely different reference points of pain, but the underlying principle which characterizes each unit remains the same: 1=minor discomfort ----- 10=The worst pain I've ever felt. So although this method is somewhat subjective, the truthful responses given by the wounded directly impact the quality of their care by helping caregivers determine the severity of the injury and whether to treat the wound in the field or transport immediately.   

       Consequently, the lack of exactitude in pain measurement does not make a scale based on approximations entirely worthless, it helps save lives.
iuvare, Feb 06 2001

       iuvare: I think the paramedic thing could be slightly biased in the patients direction, chances are if there is a paramedic there then the pain the patient/casualty is in will probably be the worst they've been in. There are exceptions to this, because at certain extremes of pain the bodies nervous system will stop working right or somthing, and you will no longer feel the pain (I think).
kaz, Apr 18 2002


back: main index

business  computer  culture  fashion  food  halfbakery  home  other  product  public  science  sport  vehicle