Communication

including history taking, documentation...

SOCRATES Pain Assessment

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Practitioners will encounter a significant proportion of patients presenting with pain as their primary presenting complaint regardless of the speciality. To obtain a comprehensive history from the patient, the mnemonic "SOCRATES" can be used as a prompt.

It is useful for various types of pain; cardiac, abdominal, muscular, headaches, and much more. The SOCRATES mnemonic  is broken down as detailed below:

Site; where exactly is the pain? Is the pain concentrated in a small area or spread over a wide area? It is useful to ask the patient to point to the site of pain.
Onset; what were they doing when the pain started? Did the pain develop instantaneously, rapidly or gradual? Does the pain remain constantly or is it intermittent?
Character; what does the pain feel like? Is it stabbing, dull, sharp, cramping, burning or twisting?
Radiating; does the pain go anywhere else?
Associated symptoms; e.g. nausea/vomiting, loss of consciousness, palpitation... 
Time/duration; how long have they had the pain? Have they experienced this pain in the past? When was the last time they felt well?
Exacerbating/relieving factors; does anything make the pain better or worse? Ask if they have tried any analgesia?
Severity; what is their pain score? 

References and Resources



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